NTL BASEBALL: SAYRE MAKES EARLY STATEMENT; SLAMS CANTON, 20-7 (24 PHOTOS)
(2021-04-06)By TIM BIRNEYValley Sports Report
SAYRE — Sayre scored early and often, then closed out its, 20-7, six-inning win over Canton in grand fashion here Monday afternoon in a key early-season NTL Small School Division baseball match-up on Ralph Hendershot Field at Riverfront Park.
“It’s a good win,” said Sayre coach Jamie VanDuzer. “It’s been them and us (at the top of the division) the last few years.
“And, a lot of the (Canton and Sayre) boys play together in the summer, so we kind of know a little bit about each other,” he noted.
“I’m happy to get this win under our belt early,” added VanDuzer.
The Redskins, who beat Athens 16-1 Saturday, scored three runs in the first inning, and seven more in the second to take a 10-0 lead. They led 12-1 after three innings.
“It’s the same way we started against Athens,” said VanDuzer. “We hit the ball real hard, and we had some really good at-bats. I’ve been really happy with the kids’ approach at the plate.
“Runs early on are always a big thing,” noted VanDuzer. “We’re hitting up-and-down the line-up right now, and it’s a lot of fun.”
After sophomore Lucas Horton, making his first varsity start, pitched around an error in the top of the first, senior Zach Moore gave the Redskins a 2-0 lead in the home half of the inning with a two-out, two-RBI double into right-center field gap. Sophomore Zach Garrity followed up with a hard-hit RBI single up the middle to make it 3-0.
Lucas Horton pitched around a single by Hayden Ward and an error in the second inning, thanks in large part to Brayden Horton throwing out a runner attempting to steal for the second out.
Junior Mason Houseknecht led off the home half of the second with a walk, and sophomore Jackson Hubbard doubled on the first pitch he saw to put runners on second and third.
After senior Jake Burgess made it 4-0 with a groundball RBI single up the middle, Brayden Horton and Lucas Horton worked walks to force home a run.
Sophomore David Northrup upped the Sayre lead to 6-0 with a sacrifice fly, and Moore added an RBI single to center field to make it 7-0.
The hits kept coming for the Redskins as Garrity ripped a two-run double down the left-field line to up the Sayre advantage to 9-0, and junior Kannon VanDuzer capped the rally an RBI single to right field to make it 10-0.
Lucas Horton needed just two pitches to record the first two outs of the third inning, but he hit Cooper Kitchen with a pitch, and Weston Bellows reached base on a dropped third strike. Joel Schoonover then put the Warriors on the board with an RBI single.
Burgess led off the bottom of the third inning with a single, and scored on a two-out RBI double by Northrup to make it 11-1.
After Moore reached on a dropped third strike, Garrity singled to right field to give the Redskins a 12-1 lead.
Cam Bellows belted a two-RBI double in the top of the fourth to trim the deficit to 12-3, and the Warriors added two more runs in the fifth inning on a two-out, two-RBI single by Carter Route to make it 12-5.
The Warriors closed the gap to 13-7 after 5 1/2 innings, but the Redskins ended the game via the 10-run “mercy rule” with seven runs in the home half of the sixth inning.
VanDuzer thinks his team may have lost its focus after leading big early.
“I hope that’s what it was,” said VanDuzer. “We did talk about it after the game. I noticed it, the other coaches noticed it.
“I think the kids may thought the game was over, and started resting too early,” noted VanDuzer. “We did put it back together late, though.”
Hubbard led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk, and Burgess stroked a single to right field. Brayden Horton started the scoring with an RBI double, and Lucas Horton walked to load the bases.
Northrup followed with a two-run single up the middle to give Sayre a 16-7 lead, and put them on the cusp of ending the game via the 10-run rule.
With one out, the Warriors intentionally walked Garrity, who already had four hits, to load the bases, but VanDuzer made them pay, driving a 1-2 pitch over the right-field fence for his second home run of the season to make it 20-7 and end the game.
Garrity was 4-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and four RBI, and VanDuzer had three hits, including his grand slam, scored one run, and had six RBI to lead the Redskins at the plate.
Burgess stroked three singles, scored four runs, and drove in one run in the win, while Northrup doubled and singled, scored three runs, and had three RBI, Moore doubled and singled, scored two runs, and drove in three runs.
Brayden Horton doubled, scored two runs, and drove in a run for the Redskins, while Hubbard doubled and scored two runs, Lucas Horton scored a pair of runs and had one RBI, and junior Josh Arnold and Houseknecht each scored one run.
Lucas Horton earned his first varsity win, allowing three runs — one earned — on four hits, while striking out three and walking one in four innings of work.
VanDuzer believes Lucas Horton is only going to get better.
“It’s hard to believe this was his first time out there on a varsity mound, especially for me because I’ve been coaching him for so long.
“He’s built for that type of situation,” said VanDuzer. “I think the nerves got to him a little bit early on … I think as the year goes on and he gets more games under his belt, he’ll be a lot tougher to hit.”
VanDuzer pitched two innings of relief, allowing four runs — two earned — on four hits, while striking out two and walking two.
Cam Bellows, Joel Schoonover, and Route each had one hit and two RBI to lead Canton at the plate.
Sayre, now 2-0, is scheduled to host South Williamsport Friday, while Canton, now 3-1, will host Muncy.
IN PHOTO 1: Sayre’s Lucas Horton. … PHOTOS BY DAVID ALLIGER — TRAVELING PORTRAITS.
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