The Mustangs of Lynchburg-Clay and the Lions of Fairfield squared off on Wednesday night at Lynchburg High School and the Mustangs came away with a hard fought 8-6 win.
Devin Pierson got the win for the Lynchburg squad going four innings, giving up six runs, four earned, on seven hits and walking one batter. Gage Waits, who was celebrating his 18th birthday, got the save, pitching the last three innings and giving up no runs, no hit, while striking out three batters and walking two.
The Mustangs are now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, while Fairfield drops to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the SHAC.
Fairfield got the scoring started in the first inning as Zach Cox drove in Joey Wilson on a single and then Wilson came out on the mound in the bottom of the inning and struck out the first three batters he faced in the game. The Lions added four more to their total in the top of the second inning to bring their lead to 4-0. Lynchburg finally got their bats heated up in the bottom of the inning and struck Joey Wilson for five runs in the inning to pull themselves back up on top 5-4. Fairfield was able to tally a run in both the third and fourth innings but the Mustangs had another big inning in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three runs and bringing the total to 8-6. The pitchers from both teams were able to keep the other from scoring the final three innings and Lynchburg held on to the lead and won their third game to open the season with a final score of 8-6.
“I thought we both had opportunities to take advantage of mistakes though the course of the game tonight,” Mustangs coach Garyn Waits said after the win. “Joey [Wilson] got tired. He threw a lot of pitches tonight and I told the guys that you have to go up there and see pitches and be patient. Don’t go up there and help him out. It just took us a little while to get going and I think that week layoff we had because of weather had us a little rusty. Mentally, we just weren’t ready to play. They got some baserunners early and took advantage of it and we got runs all in big spurts. I’d say we kicked the ball around just as much as they. Gage [Waits] came in and pitched well those last three innings. It’s nice to have that change of speed, especially after a guy that throws a little harder.”
“We gave them six unearned runs,” Matt Garman of Fairfield said after the loss to Lynchburg. “It’s really hard to win ball games when you do that. We hit the ball well and they hit it too, our pitchers just weren’t hitting spots and were running deep into counts. We can’t play the way we did defensively and expect to win ball games.”
Leading the winning Mustangs at the plate was Gage Waits and Ryan Inman. Waits was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s and scored once, while Inman was also 2-for-4, drove one run in and scored once himself. Cory Snider, Morgan Ryan, Andrew Reuss, and Kendall Vilvens all had one hit and the Mustangs had a total of six stolen bases. One each from; Devin Pierson, Gage Waits, Chaz Lanier, and Wesley Smith, with Morgan Ryan grabbing two for himself.
On the other side, leading Fairfield was Zach Cox who went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Wyatt Crothers, Isiah Liggins, Ryan Bates, and Quintin Schaffer all had one hit each and Crothers had one RBI while Schaffer had two.
The Mustangs are back in action on Thursday when they play host to another SHAC team in Eastern Brown. The game is set to start at 5 p.m. The Lions will back on their home field on Thursday playing host to North Adams.
Robert Stegbauer is a staff-reporter for the Times-Gazette. You can reach him by email at rstegbauer@civitasmedia or follow him on Twitter at @RStegbauer.