After falling behind 6-1 the Warriors have a big fifth and sixth frame to come back and run-rule the Expos
WAYNESVILLE — Heading into the bottom of the fifth inning on Thursday, things looked pretty bleak for the 18-and-under Waynesville Warriors.
The visiting St. James Expos had a 6-1 lead and Expos pitcher Drew Lahman was throwing darts.
But the Warriors came out of the dugout and scored seven runs to take the lead and scored another eight in the bottom of the sixth to take the game by run-rule, 16-6 in six innings.
“We came out a little flat,” Waynesville coach Scott Turner said. “Give St. James credit, they did their job finding timely hits. They had a lot of timely bloopers to find the holes. But we want to be a team that doesn't put its head down. We want to be a team that wants to battle and that's what we did.”
The game was tied in the third, 1-1, after Warriors catcher Derek Wood scored on a fielder's choice.
In the top of the fourth is where St. James did the rest of its damage.
With the bases loaded, Ach Russel doubled to right to score two. Then a walk loaded the bases again and, after an RBI single made the score 4-1, Ed Prenavo V sent a two-run double through the shortstop hole to give St. James its 6-1 lead.
Turner said a lot of the hits St. James had were just balls that happened to be hit where his defenders weren't in a position to get to them.
“Sometimes people stick their bat out there and it'll fall where you don't want it to fall,” Turner said.
An inning later is when Waynesville got its revenge.
Jacob Kleinholz hit an infield single to third, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Ethan Brown brought him home on an infield single. After Wood got on base, Trey Simpson bunted home Brown. Simpson stole second and after another errant throw by the catcher Wood scored.
That's when St. James coach Ed Prenavo IV made a pitching change.
Lahman had developed a blister on his throwing hand.
“If it wasn't for that, he would've pitched another inning or two,” Prenavo IV said.
That didn't slow down the Warriors though.
Ryan Pendleton walked, stole second and Derek Emperato brought home two with his single to left to tie the game at six.
Jacob Woodward hit an RBI single and Kleinholz hit a sacrifice fly for Waynesville to take the 8-6 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth Caleb Rowden hit a bloop single into center for two RBI to kick off scoring. Then, Woodward hit a RBI single, Kleinholz walked a run in, Brown beat out an infield single to score two runs and Trey Simpson had an RBI single to center to make it 15-6.
A walk brought in the final run.
St. James' coach said he couldn't be too harsh on his team.
“They're all fresh out of eighth grade,” Prenavo IV said. “But they do a fine job. They just have to bare down. They've played together for a long time, but they just got nervous out here.”
Turner said he knew his team could pull out a win over St. James, but they needed to get the bat on the ball.
“We knew we would be able to score runs today,” Turner said. “But you have to execute, and that's when we started hitting the ball hard all over the place.”
The 18-and-under Warriors have another home game on Tuesday, against Lebanon. The first game starts at 6 p.m.