By Todd Vinyard
SALTILLO – The pain of reconstructive surgeries on each knee wasn’t on the mind of Itawamba AHS first baseman Adam Lesley Thursday as he beat out an infield single.
Instead it was the joy of helping drive in three runs which broke a 4-4 third inning tie on the way to Itawamba’s 11-6 win over Booneville in the second game of the Saltillo Tournament at Jim Scott Field.
Lesley, who played in the field for the first time this season since coming back from reconstructive surgery on his right knee after having the left done a year ago, said he has to put ice on the right knee for 40 minutes after some games.
“You worry about it popping, but today it felt fine,” he said. “Especially seeing everybody in front of me score.”
Stepping up to the plate with the bases loaded and facing a new pitcher, Booneville’s Dustin Cox, Lesley hit a sharp ground ball to the Booneville shortstop. A diving effort by Chuck Spearman stopped the ball, but an errant throw to first and then another off-the-mark peg to third by the Booneville outfield brought IAHS’ Deyonne Gibson, Grant Martin and Jamie Rock home.
When Lesley, who had taken second base on the throwing error, scored after a wild pitch and a balk it capped off a six-run inning in which all nine Itawamba batters came to the plate.
The Indians got started with an RBI triple by Dale Kent to score Shae Collum, and then a Rock double to bring in Kent.
“We have not been hitting all season, but we got the hits when we needed them today,” IAHS coach Brian Long said. “Our defense could have been better, but we will take the win.”
Booneville’s Blue Devils scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning with the help of two IAHS errors and trailed only 8-6.
In the bottom of the fourth, Rock got his second RBI double to score Kent, and then crossed the plate himself after designated hitter Luke Carroll walked with the bases loaded. Gibson scored later on a fielder’s choice to put the game away.
IAHS moves to 4-2 with the win, while Booneville is now 3-5.
Booneville’s Rick Coggin is trying to fill in the gaps after losing six of his eight starting position players to graduation last year.
“We just need to get better every day,” Coggin said. “In this game we got ahead, but then we gave them that big third inning with some mistakes.”
After being pushed around for seven hits and four runs in the first two innings, IAHS southpaw Timmy Carroll pushed back over the next three to pick up the victory. Booneville’s T.J. Carr took the loss.
The Blue Devils were hot early as third baseman Hayden Hughes had a RBI double to score catcher Daniel Arthur, who had brought first baseman John Ferrell in on a single earlier.
Booneville went up 4-0 in the second inning when Ferrell got a bloop single to fall, scoring Tyson Taylor. Taylor got on base with a double knocking in Spearman.
Itawamba 11, Booneville 6
Booneville 220 20 6 12 2
Itawamba 026 3x 11 8 3
WP – Timmy Carroll. LP – T.J. Carr. Multiple Hits – (B) John Ferrell 3, Hayden Hughes 2; (I) Dale Kent 2, Jamie Rock 2; 2B – (B) Hughes, Tyson Taylor; (I) Rock 2, Deyonne Gibson, Shae Collum; 3B – (I) Kent 2. Multiple RBI – (B) Taylor 2; (I) Lesley 2, Rock 2. Records: IAHS (4-2), Booneville (3-5).
Notes: The six-team Saltillo Tournament continues through Saturday.