By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
FULTON – During spring break, a high school baseball schedule can be a bit hectic, putting a strain on any pitching staff.
Austin Saylors took the pressure off head coach Jacob Bruce and the Shannon Red Raiders Tuesday in the ICC Challenge, hurling seven innings in an 8-3 victory over the Mantachie Mustangs.
“Anytime a pitcher can throw seven innings when you still have four games left in the week is good,” Bruce said.
Saylors scattered five hits in his complete game, only allowing runs in the third and fifth innings. The Shannon starter also struck out eight, while walking three, and benefited from a double play in the second inning.
In the top of the third for Mantachie, which played in the Class 2A championship series last season, C. J. Jackson drew leadoff walk, then scored with two outs on a Cody Chatham single.
In the fifth inning, the Mustangs scored twice on an RBI hit by Austin Byrd, and an error.
“This was a big win for us the way our season has been going,” Bruce said. “Some games, we’ve been able to throw strikes, but not make the plays on defense.
“Then other games, we’ve played good defense, but not been able to throw strikes. We did a good job getting a complete game tonight.”
Offensively, it took Shannon bats four innings to break through against Mantachie starter Hunter Dill. The Raiders plated their first run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double by Danarius Gates.
Then in the fifth inning, three walks and a hit batter aided Shannon in scoring four times off reliever Drew Wagster. The Raiders added insurance in the sixth frame on a two-run single by Devon Merell.