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Caledonia opens baseball playoffs with win

 

Scott Walters

 

CALEDONIA - Caledonia High School baseball coach John Wilson wants his team to do a better job at the little things. 

 

If the Confederates do those little things better, it could lead to a big postseason run. 

 

Friday night at home, enough of the little things were done as Caledonia knocked off Indianola Gentry 10-0 in a six-inning play-in round game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association's North State Class 4A playoffs. 

 

The Confederates closed out the best-of-three series with an 18-1 victory Saturday in Indianola. Next up, Caledonia will face Lewisburg in a first-round best-of-three series. This series begins Thursday at Lewisburg. 

 

"We played well but there are so many of the little things that we didn't do well," Wilson said. "When we go to Lewisburg, those things will get us beat. We had a runner who does not score but he does not tag up when we ask him too. He does not steal when he is supposed, too. We swung at too many pitches over our heads. Those are the little things that we have to get better at." 

 

Senior pitcher Ryan Unruh threw a no-hitter Friday night against Gentry. Unruh faced two batters past the minimum, as he struck out 12 and walked one. 

 

"It is sometimes kind of long playing behind him," Caledonia senior outfielder Luke Eads said. "It's still fun, because he is a great pitcher. You spend most of the game just hopeful that you get a ball." 

 

Unruh was in complete control Friday night. An early three-run first-inning helped his confidence level go up even more. 

 

"My main goal was to go out there and throw strikes," Unruh said. "I pretty much did that. When we score some runs, I am excited. We did a lot of things well in this game. It was a good start to the playoffs." 

 

Caledonia started the scoring early. Blake Burke started things with a one-out single. A wild pitch scored a run and Jeremy Reed-wood brought two more home with a two-run double. 

 

The lead was extended to 6-0 in the second inning. Jonathan Comer, Eads and Burke had consecutive hits in this at-bat. The Confederates also took advantage of a walk and two hit batsman in the frame. 

 

"When we get some hits early, we are a tough team to beat," Eads said. "When we make the plays on defense, we feel like we can compete with anybody. The main thing is staying focused and doing things more consistently. 

 

Comer had an RBI-single in the fifth inning and a two-run game-ending single in the sixth inning. Garrett Glenn also had an RBI-single. 

 

"The best thing about the win is we had several guys who got the job done offensively," Unruh said. "We will need to keep that up if we want to go a long way in the playoffs." 

 

Caledonia improved to 23-6 with the victory. The Confederates finished second in Class 4A, Region 4 play with a 7-3 record. With several seniors on the roster, Caledonia players have been looking forward to this postseason for quite some time. 

 

"Sometimes, we play extremely well," Wilson said. "We had four of five guys we can put on the mound. In our six losses, we averaged about five errors and 12 strikeouts per game. In the wins, we have averaged about 1-1/2 errors per game and probably around five strikeouts. The kids know our capabilities. We just have to find a way to be more consistent." 

 

Caledonia finished with 12 hits, including a three-hit night by Comer, as well as multi-hit games by Eads, Burke and Reed-wood.

 

Scott is sports copy editor and reporter

 

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