PEARL — East Union has been known to be a good hitting team.
In Friday's MHSAA Class 2A State Championship Game 1, it took a little while for the bats to heat up. Once they did, there was no catching up.
The Urchins used a nine-run fifth inning and rode the rubber-band arm of senior Rudy Baldwyn to get past Stringer 13-2 in a run-rule five innings at Friday afternoon at Trustmark Park.
Game 2 of the series is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.
“That was big for us," East Union coach Jamie Russell said of the nine-run fifth. "And I liked how we bounced back that inning after the inning before, and made their guy throw strikes and got some big hits when we needed them. We took advantage of some of their mistakes. It ain’t over yet, we got to come back to work tomorrow.”
East Union took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run double down the left field line by Connor Timms.
Ethan Hitt added a two-run single in the fourth to extend the Urchins lead to 4-0.
Stringer scored their lone two runs in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single to center by Mississippi State signee Jackson Parker and on a wild pitch to cut East Union lead to 4-2.
In the nine-run fifth inning for East Union, the Urchins sent 13 batters to the plate and drew six walks to go with four hits.
Jude Treadaway had a two-run single to center, Rett Johnson had a RBI triple and Hitt added a RBI single in the inning to give the Urchins the 13-2 lead.
Hitt had three hits to lead East Union (30-4) offensively.
“I’ve played in the state championship four times and only been fortunate enough to win it once, so I was ready for this,” Hitt said. “Just executed the plan, which was to hunt fastballs. Stay middle to opposite away with off speed and we did that today for the most part. If we execute like we did today, we will be just fine.”
Rudy Baldwyn (12-0) got the win on the mound for the Urchins tossing four and two-thirds allowing just one hit, walked nine and struck out 10.
“He struggled to find the zone some, but he got outs and pitches when he had too,” Russell said. “Finished his senior year 12-0 on the mound, so couldn’t ask for much more and super proud of him.”
Lance Jenkins (8-1) took the loss on the mound for Stringer. The Red Devils fell to 28-7.
“We didn’t execute enough on the mound or in the field,” said Stringer coach Wade Weathers. “That was not championship baseball and we didn’t deserve to win today.”