Veterans scored 12 runs in its GHSA Class AAAAA opening win over East Paulding Wednesday at Veterans. Even more remarkable was the fact they all came in the first inning.
The Warhawks sent 18 hitters to the plate during that inning. They finished with nine hits. Seven of them came during that stretch. There were also two errors, five walks and a batter hit by a pitch (Korbin Hollensteiner) as Veterans was able to chase Raiders starter Daniel Batcher (two trips to the mound by the coach yielded nothing in regard to settling him down). Kasey Kelly relieved him and promptly gave up four more runs. (Kelly did settle down, however. He went the rest of the way, striking out five while walking three.)
Big blows along the way came via Leyton Pinckney (2-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored) who doubled in the first run – Jacob Giles (2-5 with an RBI and two scored) who started the whole merry-go-round with an error. Bryce Brazil (1-3) also singled to bring in Gabe Holt, who had walked, and Pinckney. That was significant in the fact East Paulding had scored two runs to start the game. Those two RBIs gave Veterans the lead (3-2). Jacob Pierce’s (1-4) double brought in Derek Wylie, who had also walked. A Giles single made it 5-2 and a triple by Holt pushed it to 8-2 and made it appear the rout was on.
In fact, it wasn’t. It turned out the Warhawks needed every single one of those, as East Paulding began chipping away. Finishing with 13 hits – both did leave seven on base – it added two in the third, five in the fourth – chasing Ben Gibbs (four innings, eight hits, nine runs, four strikeouts and four walks) and two more in the seventh (against Jack Waldrop) to bring its total to 11. And, it even had the tying run on third.
Momentum perhaps on its side, it went on to win the nightcap 16-6 in five innings.
Veterans – taking the role of the visitor – started things off with three to start the first. The Raiders scored eight in answer. The Warhawks cut it to 8-6 in the second but East Paulding put five more up in response to that.
After two scoreless innings by both, they ended the game with a trey in the fifth. Hits were close with the Raiders having 11 and Veterans nine.
The two will match up again Friday (a reportedly 4 p.m. start) for the third and deciding game.