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SA defeats East Rankin 8-2 at home

March 28, 2012

Hunter Bolin pitches for Starkville Academy on Tuesday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Being calm in the face of adversity is something Starkville Academy head coach Neal Henry has been stressing to his pitchers.

Hunter Bolin took that advice to heart and pitched a complete game as the Volunteers beat East Rankin Academy 8-2 Tuesday night at Volunteer field.

After giving up a two-run home run to Jacob Weldon in the sixth inning, Bolin settled down and got the next three batters to get out of the inning.

"We preach to them to show no emotion on the mound," Henry said. "When you pitch, you can't show any emotion because the other team will see that emotion coming off of that pitcher. Just pitch and he does a good job of having short term memory on the mound."

Bolin quickly forgot about the home run and decided to finish the job.

"Home runs happen," the junior Bolin said. "We were up 7-0 at the time and made it 7-2, still had a five-run cushion and bases were empty so it was fine."

In Bolin's seven innings of work, he only gave up six hits and struck out seven batters.

"I just went out there, filled the strike zone up and let my defense work," Bolin said. "I'm not a big strikeout guy. I let them make plays for me and they throw up a no-error game."

Henry likes when Bolin pitches because he works with a lot of confidence and gives the Volunteers a chance to win.

"Every time he goes out there, he competes and he throws a lot of strikes," Henry said. "We expect a lot of ground balls out of him. He threw up another zero in the (error) column. When you play good defense behind him, he has that much more confidence to go up there and throw strikes."

After Drew Pellum was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second base on a single, the Volunteers exploded for three runs with two outs.

Ryan McKell started the rally with a single, he eventually stole second and was driven in by Kirby Cox's single. Bolin drove in Cox with an infield single and eventually scored on an error.

"To be a good team, you have to have a lot of two-out hits," Henry said. "In the past four or five games, we have scored a lot of our runs with two outs."

Bolin collected one of his four hits when he led off the bottom of the first with a single. He eventually scored when the catcher threw it in the dirt and it skipped away from the third baseman while Bolin was trying to steal. Stephen Robertson scored on a passed ball to give SA a 2-0 lead after one inning.

"Had a lot of hits tonight," Henry said of Bolin. "He had a great night. He is the leadoff guy in our lineup so anytime he gets on, we can do a lot of stuff. He is seeing the ball well and stayed back on the ball."

The Vols scored one in the third, one in the fifth when Pellum made it home from second on a pass ball and got one more in the sixth on a squeeze bunt by Austin Miles to score Bolin after he tripled.

"We have 21 players," Henry said of how big it is to beat a Jackson area school. "That's all that wanted to come play baseball out of this school. These juniors and seniors have played since they were 9th and 10th graders. They have a lot of experience and they are playing like it now. They are not playing like first-year players. They are playing like experienced veterans."

Bolin was the only Volunteer with multiple hits with four. Alex Holtcamp had a RBI double in the third.

SA improves to 12-3 overall and 2-1 in district play. The Vols will be back in action Thursday when they return the trip to East Rankin for a doubleheader starting at 4:30 p.m.

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