Atkins solid for Hamilton Lions in opener

By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal

HAMILTON – Getting off to an good start offensively was a goal for the Hamilton on Thursday.
They scored seven runs in the second inning to back up a solid start from senior Clay Atkins. Atkins worked around seven Potts Camp hits to give the Lions a 12-2 win and a 1-0 series lead.
“I pitched on Thursday, and I felt like I had a really good arm,” Atkins said. “Today it just felt like I was dead-armed. Every pitcher has them, but you have to keep your mind right.”
The Lions started off the scoring in the bottom of the first with leadoff man Cojuante McMillian scoring on a wild pitch.
After Atkins worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the second, Hamilton exploded for seven runs and sent 13 batters to the plate. Designated hitter Caleb Garvin walked to begin the inning, and he and Kyle Dahlem came around to score on shortstop Hayden Gill’s RBI single. Center fielder Ethan Earnest sent Gill home with a single of his own, and he and McMillian scored on an Austin Lewis single. Garvin singled home Lewis and crossed the plate on a wild pitch by Potts Camp starter Jesse Shaw.
Hamilton tacked on three more runs in the third when McMillian led off with a single, Earnest walked and first baseman Austin Welch hit an RBI single. Earnest scored later in the inning on Lewis’ groundout, and Welch came home on Garvin’s sacrifice fly.
Garvin’s second sacrifice fly sent home Welch for the final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth.
“We put the ball in play, and they also made some mistakes,” Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest said. “It was good we were able to put some runs on the board early.”
Atkins credited good defense in keeping his confidence up throughout the game.
“I did what I was supposed to do, and so did my teammates,” Atkins said. “We’ve been working hard every day, and when we step across those lines, it’s just time to do work. That’s how it’s been all year.”
The Lions will travel to Potts Camp tomorrow for Game 2 of the series.
melissa.meador@journalinc.com