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Starkville Academy has hitting, pitching success

February 22, 2012

Starkville Academy baserunner Hunter Bolin, right, dives back into first base Wednesday night. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Starkville Academy baseball team had success at the plate and on the mound Wednesday night.

The Volunteers beat Oak Hill Academy 10-0 in five innings at Volunteer Field on a mild weather night.

Ryan McKell drew the start on the mound for SA. He found the strike zone early and often as he struck out seven, walked four and only gave up three hits in five innings of work.

"Very much crisper game," Starkville Academy head coach Neal Henry said of Wednesday night. "We had a senior start on the mound. He came out and threw strikes and got outs."

He took a no-hitter into the fourth inning and was one out away from getting out of the inning, but Raider batter Adam Tumey and Curt Huffman got back-to-back hits.

McKell struck out the next batter to retire the side.

The bats did not hide for the Volunteers as they scored every inning except for the second.

The Vols came out early and scored two runs in the first inning. Hunter Bolin led off the inning with a single. After a strike out and two walks to load the bases, Ryan Mann was issued a free pass too, to drive in the first run.

Doug Pettit reached on a fielder's choice to force another run across.
"We scored some runs," Henry said. "We tacked on every inning and we won every inning and that's always good."

The third inning saw Stephen Robertson lead off with a double. He wasn't there long as Alex Holtcamp singled to drive him in. An error and a ground out forced two more runs across to give the Vols a 5-0 lead.

"With these bats, there is not going to be 20-17 games like we had last year," Henry said. "You have to move runners, you have to play small ball and we have done a good job of that. (Wednesday) we did a good job of it too."

Starkville Academy added one more run in the fourth, but ended the game with a four-run fifth inning.

McKell singled after a strike out. After a walk, Bolin got an infield single to load the bases. Another error and a an infield single led to two more runs.

Once again Mann came to plate with runners in scoring position and singled between the third baseman and the shortstop to give the Vols the victory.

The Vols have played only two games this season, but Bolin has recorded multiple hits in each. He picked up three more hits Wednesday.

"He is seeing the ball good right now," Henry said of Bolin. "He really works at it. He comes to practice every single day and works on his hitting. He really knows how to hit. He has been going to the cage since he was 5, or probably earlier than that. He has got a good eye for it right now. He just has to stay humble and continue to do what he has been doing and not do anything else."

Oak Hill's other hit came from Jacob Shempert in the fifth inning.

"I have a lot of respect for Coach (Marion) Bratton at Oak HIll and what he has done over there and what he is continuing to do," Henry said.

The Vols improve to 2-0 this young season and play again Friday at Noxapater. They play Nanih Waiya at 5 p.m. and the host team at 7 p.m.

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