FLORENCE — It’s still early in the season, but Center Hill's baseball team has been trying to establish some momentum.
On Thursday night, they took a big step in the right direction.
After starting the season 0-6, the Mustangs used two big innings to beat No. 3 West Lauderdale 12-7 in the Florence Spring Break Classic. It was their fifth win in six games.
“We’ve been struggling to hit all year, and tonight against a really good team, we hit the ball better than we did all year,” said Center Hill coach Peyton Callahan. “Things are starting to come together and go our way and it’s good to see all come together tonight.”
After West Lauderdale took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run home by Cade Kennedy, Center Hill scored five runs to take a 5-2 lead in the top of the second inning without recording a hit. The Mustangs got four runs on four consecutive walks with the bases loaded.
Center Hill extended their lead to 7-3 in the third as Landon Scruggs had a RBI double to left and Hunter Peeks had a RBI single to right center.
West Lauderdale cut the lead down to 7-6 in the fourth inning as Gray Alexander had a RBI single, Bradon Epting had a RBI double to left and a run scored on a throwing error.
The Mustangs added four more runs in the fifth on a RBI double by Scott Green, RBI single by Scruggs, a groundout and RBI single by Ayden Rodgers.
Green got the win on the mound for Center Hill lasting four innings, giving up seven hits, six runs, walked five and had four strikeouts.
Scruggs had three hits and two RBI’s to lead the Mustangs (5-7) offensively.
“Was just expecting the fastball and adjusting to the off speed, (trying to) work the count and see as many pitches as possible,” Scruggs said. “We’re finally working as a team and playing together as a team.”
Collin Clark, Ayden Rodgers and Dominic Rivino added two hits for Center Hill.
“We’ve been doing a better job of making plays in the field and not making a bunch of errors, along with having a better approach at the plate and putting the ball in play,” Callahan said. “Good to see the guys play hard and play for each other and hopefully we can keep this going forward.”
Gray Alexander had two hits to lead West Lauderdale (10-2). Brett Busbea (2-1) took the loss on the mound for the Knights.
“Baseball is a humbling game and we got that today,” said West Lauderdale coach Jason Smith. “Both Center Hill and Ridgeland are good teams, so give them credit. Good thing for us is we play again tomorrow and have a chance to bounce back.”
West Lauderdale is back in action on Friday as they travel to Meridian, while Center Hill will be back at Florence on Saturday to face Florence at 4 p.m.
Ridgeland 4, West Lauderdale 3 (8 innings)
Jarvis Woody hit a RBI double to left center in the top of the eighth inning as the Titans handed the Knights their first loss of the season.
“This was a good win for us. Our kids just play so hard and don’t quit,” said Ridgeland coach Chris Peden. “We’ve been up and down all here and hopefully this gives us some momentum heading into next week with Neshoba Central.”
Parker Ishee got the win on the mound for Ridgeland (9-5).
Bradon Epting had a leadoff home run on the first pitch of the game for West Lauderdale.