John McReynolds knew what his mission was on Saturday for the Starkville Academy Volunteers.
When he stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter with runners on base in the sixth inning, McReynolds was focused on seeing the baseball and hitting it.
That plan worked to perfection as McReynolds delivered a two-run single that proved to be the difference as the Volunteers defeated Copiah Academy 3-2 in the first game of a doubleheader.
"I just wanted to go up there and put the bat on the ball," McReynolds said. "I didn't want to strike out. I ended up hitting it off the handle and I got lucky."
Even though McReynolds is just a freshman, Starkville Academy coach Neal Henry didn't hesitate putting him into the game in a pressure situation.
The ability for McReynolds to make contact made him the best man for the job in Henry's mind.
"He puts the ball in play pretty much every time," Henry said. "I thought we needed a guy there just to put it in play. I went to him and he delivered. He put it in play and got us two big RBI."
McReynolds' single capped a three-run sixth inning for the Vols.
Ryan McKell led off the frame with a double, then Drew Pellum, Colby Runnels and Hunter Bolin followed with one-out singles. McReynolds' single also came with one out.
Copiah Academy starting pitcher Michael Bagley worked the first five innings and only gave up three hits.
Once the visitors changed from Bagley to Peyton Whitehead, Starkville Academy put together the game-winning rally.
"You can make excuses because we haven't played since last Thursday," Henry said of the early offensive struggles for the Vols. "I could sit here and make excuses, but I'm not going to because that's just how it is. You just have to step up.
"Their number one (Bagley) was carving us up for a little bit and we couldn't get much done, but they brought the second guy in (Whitehead) and we got a few hits off him. We put the ball in play and good things happen when you do that."
Bolin went the distance on the mound for the Vols. He only allowed two hits and struck out three to improve his record to 4-2.
Despite issuing five walks and hitting a batter, Henry said Bolin was able to fight through the adversity.
"His command wasn't great, but he limited them to two runs and we got the win," Henry said. "He competes every time. It doesn't matter if he doesn't have his fastball or curveball."
The only runs Bolin surrendered was one in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Bolin also led the seven-hit attack for Starkville Academy with a pair of singles. Along with McKell's double, McReynolds, Pellum, Runnels and Alex Holtcamp had one single each.
The Vols also won the second game of the twinbill 9-6 and improved their records to 15-4 overall and 5-2 in Class AAA South.View more articles in: