12 year olds power past Gallatin
By Sparta Live | June 30, 2008 12:00 am
The opening game of All Star competition is a key to how a team will fare.
It’s about getting off on the right foot and building confidence for what lies ahead. If the success of a team in their opening game is indeed foreshadowing of things to come, then Sparta Little League’s 12 year old team could be in for some exciting times.
The veteran team powered by the bat of Devon Davidson and the pitching of Blake Lynn rolled to a 13-1 win in their opening game against visiting Gallatin Saturday night. The Sparta squad took care of business in three and one-half innings with the mercy-rule win.
After the start was delayed a few minutes due to a rain downpour that moved through the area a couple of hours before game time, Sparta got things back on track making quick work of their opponents.
Sparta manager, Rob Howard, put the ball in the hands of Lynn for the opening game and he did not disappoint. In four innings of work, he struck out nine and walked just one batter. He gave up one run on three hits with all of those coming in the final inning after his team had given him a 13-run cushion.
Davidson’s bat had a lot of do with that cushion. He was just a single short of hitting for the cycle, which included a grand slam in the third inning. Sparta managed 13 runs despite recording only five hits in the game, but they were able to put the ball in play and were the recipients of four Gallatin errors.
Lynn struck out three Gallatin batters in the first. They did put a runner on with a one-out walk, but Lynn fanned the ensuing two batters.
Sparta took the lead and would not give it up with four runs in their half of the first. Davidson led the game off with a triple. Jake Young followed Davidson and was hit by a pitch. A ground ball by Dustin Cole drove in Davidson. After Lynn took a walk, a Matt Howard double drove in two runs. Howard would come around to score on a single by Darin Cole.
Lynn retired the Gallatin side in order in the second adding two more strikeouts. Sparta increased their lead to 5-0 with a single run in their half of the frame. Davidson doubled with one out, went to third on a ground ball and scored on a wild pitch.
The Gallatin side was again retired in order in the third and Sparta broke things wide open in the bottom of the inning.
The first two batters, Lynn and Howard, took walks. Chaz Williams reached on an error loading the bases. Rhett Blair picked up an RBI when he walked plating Lynn. Andy Baksa reached on an error that scored Howard. Jesse Lawson’s fielder’s choice drove in Williams and kept the bases loaded for Davidson, who cleaned them off in a hurry. The Sparta shortstop sent the first pitch over dead centerfield on a line shot. Sparta added their 13th run of the game later in the inning when Dustin Cole reached on an error and wound up coming all the way home on another throwing error.
Gallatin’s first two batters in the fourth reached on infield singles before Lynn fanned the ensuing two batters. The next Gallatin player singled deep into right field plating their first run of the game. The batter tried to stretch his hit into a double and was thrown out by Tommy Odom from the outfield ending the game.
Howard talked about his team.
“I liked the way everybody put the ball in play,” said Howard. “Going into All Stars, pitching is always a concern, but Blake got us off to a great start. We have to come back ready to play. DeKalb County and Smith County are always strong. We can’t let up any. We have to let our experience be a factor for us. The core group has been playing together since they were nine year old All Stars. That’s why we kept the together last year as 11 year olds to let them bond a little more.”
The 12 year olds return to action tonight (Monday) at 7:30 p.m. against DeKalb County, who lost a pitcher’s duel 2-1 to Smith County. The teams were locked in a scoreless tie until the fifth inning. After taking Tuesday off, they return to action Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Smith County.