New Hope baseball team opens with wins


Adam Minichino



Things are looking up for the New Hope High School baseball team. 


One week after turning in what New Hope coach Stacy Hester considered a disappointing performance in a jamboree at Caledonia High School, the Trojans capitalized on nearly every opportunity they were given Saturday. 


New Hope used a six-run first inning and a 10-run sixth to defeat Columbus 20-6 in six innings in its second game at the Columbus Classic. 


In New Hope''s first game of the day, Philip Tice and Tyler Shepherd each had two RBIs as the Trojans built a 9-1 lead and held on for an 11-7 victory against DeSoto Central. 


In other games, Mooreville had only two hits but cashed in on five errors to edge Caledonia 9-8. 


Columbus was leading Caledonia 5-3 after four innings in the final game, which wasn''t completed in time for this edition.  


As for New Hope (2-0), Hester was in a much better mood Saturday night. After all, it''s hard to quibble when your offense scores 31 runs in two games. 


Against Columbus, New Hope used five walks, including four in a row at one point, from starting pitcher Tyji Hawkins to take a 6-0 lead. T.J. Upton had a two-run double, Brent Younger and Jake Smith had run-scoring walks, and Josh Ferguson had a two-run single. 


The Trojans added single runs in the second and third and two more in the fourth 


In the sixth, Columbus committed six errors, walked two batters, and hit another to help New Hope break the game open. 


Smith and Tice each had two-run singles in the inning. 


"Anytime you score runs every inning, that''s what you want to do for your offense," Hester said. "The did give us some, but the biggest thing that hurt them was the walks." 


Columbus also capitalized on bases on balls. The Falcons worked three walks that came around to score and used a three-run double by Billy Autrey to cut the deficit to 10-6. 


But that was as close as the Falcons could get. 


Hester said he wants to see his pitchers do a better of throwing strikes and not giving teams bases. 


Still, he said he was pleased with how well the Trojans put the ball in play and forced Columbus to make plays. 


"A lot of errors were made today, but we were fortunate not to make but a few errors," Hester said. "Our pitching has to be fine-tuned a little bit and we have to improve our hitting, but you can''t be unhappy scoring 11 runs and 20 runs, no matter how you get them. Overall, it was a great day. It was a lot different from the jamboree." 


Hester said it was "embarrassing" the Trojans didn''t play better at the jamboree in a four-inning tie against Houston and a four-inning loss to Hamilton. 


On Saturday, he was happier with his team''s effort and the fact in put the pressure on both opponents. 


"Expectations are high," Hester said. "We have a bunch of kids who are going to play the game hard and, hopefully do the right thing. We made some mental mistakes today, but that''s the way you play. You hope they overcome those things. 


"It''s a lot better than it was last week. The kids are going to work hard and we responded real well." 



Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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