February 25, 2012 8:29:00 AM
Four sophomores and two seniors earned their first start and first taste of varsity action for the New Hope High School baseball team Friday. It was the perfect time for coach Lee Boyd to get his first look at how his young squad handles a deficit.
New Hope overcame a three-run hole with a five-run third inning against Amory High en route to a 6-4 win in the season opener for both teams.
New Hope received a solid start out from Landon Boyd, who earned the win after allowing two earned runs in three innings. Boyd gave up three hits and struck out six.
Sophomores Will Golsan, who hits leadoff and plays shortstop, and catcher Rooke Coleman, provided the offensive lift. Coleman went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, including an RBI single to center in the fifth to give the Trojans a two-run cushion, while Golsan went 2-for-5.
Coleman overcame a tough night behind the dish, as a string of passed balls led to extra bases for Amory.
"We've got some guys who haven't been here before," coach Boyd said. "We had a couple of miscues (three errors) in the inning we got in trouble (second), but I felt like our guys were playing hard. We just didn't make the routine plays, and maybe nerves were a part of that.
"But credit our team for continuing to play hard and responding with that big inning."
New Hope managed a hit off Amory pitcher Destin Hahn in the first two innings. Hahn's location was flawless and his curveball had plenty of bite, until Golsan got the party started with a one-out single to right-center field. Hahn then walked three straight before giving up an RBI single to Thomas Woodruff. Amory coach Chad Williams then went to Tanner Poole, who struck out five and gave up one earned run in 2 2/3 innings.
"I think we started hitting (Hahn) and he got rattled," said Golsan of his former Trojan teammate. "We got a big hit, rallied a bunch, and got that motivation back up."
In the previous frame, Amory struck gold when an error at first base and a passed ball led to its first run. Another passed ball put runners on the corners with two outs before Poole had an RBI single and Forest Williams drew a bases-loaded walk.
Amory struggled after that, though, logging three innings where it sent four or fewer batters to the plate.
"We took advantage of some of their mistakes in our big inning, and they returned the favor to us," Williams said. "We had trouble throwing strikes, then we had some breakdowns that, when you're playing a quality team like New Hope, you can't have. We'll get that taken care of."
Daniel Simpson led Amory with two hits.
Amory returns to the field at 2 p.m. today at home against Smithville.
New Hope will play at 11 a.m. today at Northridge High (Tuscaloosa, Ala.).