By James Carskadon
For the Daily News
Sophomore lefthander Hunter Bolin handled the pitching while senior Kyle Henson took care of the offense for Starkville Academy Friday as the Volunteers beat Washington School 6-3.
The Volunteers (4-3, 1-2) lost two games to Washington Thursday by scores of 16-1 and 7-6, but they were able to avoid the sweep thanks to a complete game on the mound from Bolin.
Bolin gave three runs on six hits and struck out six batters in his seven innings. Bolin’s only other outing of the season was a win against Hillcrest, and SA head coach Neal Henry expects to see more of that in the future from his young pitcher.
“He’s pitched very good in his last two outings, but we expect him to,” Henry said. “He may be young, but he’s old at the same time.”
Henson went 4-4 at the plate and batted in four runs, including two key insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With a single, a double and triple, the senior was a home run short of batting for the cycle.
After Washington went down quietly in the bottom of the first, Ryan Mann batted in Henson after he led off the game with a triple to give SA a 1-0 lead.
With three runs in the bottom of the second, the Volunteers were able to extend the lead to 4-0. Colby Runnels and Cole Phelps scored on a bases-loaded line drive by Henson. Ian Tharp scored shortly after when Washington catcher Will Thaggard tried to pick him off at third base, but the throw got past the third baseman, allowing Tharp to score.
The Vols maintained that 4-0 advantage until Thaggard hit a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning. The Generals added another run in the top of the sixth on a Walker Coleman single that scored Read Kelly, closing the gap to 4-3.
With runners on second and third in the bottom half of the sixth, Henson hit a single to score Tharp and Drew Pellum, giving Bolin a three-run lead to work with going into the final inning.
Bolin allowed a double in the seventh inning, but no damage was done as he got three more outs to give SA a 6-3 win.
After the game, Henry stressed the importance of avoiding the sweep to start conference play.
“In this league, you can’t get swept," Henry said. "If you want to play in May, you can’t ever get swept."
Henson wouldn’t talk much about himself after the game, but the senior did give some praise for the performance of the younger Bolin.
“He’s just a sophomore," Henson said. "They put up 16 on us yesterday, and to hold them to that, he did a phenomenal job."
Catcher Alex Holtcamp and Runnels, playing second base, both had two hits in the game. The Vols totaled 10 hits in the game, and they also had three errors in the field.
Washington used four pitchers in the game, with starter Tyler Weeks lasting three innings and giving up four runs on five hits.
Henry attributed Henson’s big day at the plate to the senior’s desire to make the most out of his last season.
“He really wants to make it to the postseason, and he really stepped up today and played like a senior,” Henry said.
The Volunteers will look to build on the momentum of Friday’s win when they travel to Jackson on Monday where they will play East Rankin and Tri-County Academy.