Tigers roll in Division 2-5A opener

baseball_icon_greenBy David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

SALTILLO – The Saltillo Tigers racked up 14 hits on Tuesday to pick up an important Division 2-5A win, beating West Point 14-1 in five innings.

Sometimes it is your night.

“When things go your way, they go your way,” veteran Saltillo head coach Johnny Bolen said. “West Point is a better team than what they showed tonight, and we’re not going to go down there Friday and expect a game like this.”

In the division opener for both teams, Saltillo (8-6, 1-0) got a balanced offensive attack that put together a five-run first.

A. J. Rye, Hunter Harlow, and Tory Gifford were the first three Saltillo batters, all reaching base to begin the inning. Gifford had an RBI hit, as did Conner Wade, and Alex Hill to propel the Tigers to the early advantage.

“You see, the key to our offense is Rye and Harlow setting the table,” said Bolen of his two speedy players at the top of the order. “Bottom line, they make us go, and them being on base puts pressure on the opposing pitcher.”

Saltillo plated two more in the second on an RBI hit by Wade, who had three total base hits, as did Drew Rhudy.

The Tigers then put the game on ice in the fourth with a seven-run frame. Wade, Rhudy, and Logan Neisler had RBI hits, with Rye banging a bases-loaded triple.

All that offense made for a smooth start on the mound for the Tigers’ Gifford, who pitched all five inning. Gifford scattered five hits, struck out eight, and did not allow a run until the top of the fifth.

Bruce Barclay drove in a run for the Green Wave (7-4, 0-1) in the fifth.

Both teams continue division play Friday, with Saltillo at West Point.