Ben’s Ford sweeps Newton, advances in playoffs

Published 12:20 pm Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ben’s Ford Christian School’s pitcher Brian Hines turned in another solid performance Thursday, helping the Eagles advance in the playoffs with a 4-2 victory over Newton Academy at home.

The senior went the distance, allowing one earned run on four hits with eight strikeouts, one walk and a hit batter.

Hines, who was coming off of a five-inning no-hitter performance, allowed two hits each in the second-and-fourth inning. The Generals had just one base runner after the fourth, a one-out seventh-inning walk.

Hines said his cutter was working the best for him.

Eagles’ coach Jared Wascom said Hines completely controlled the game.

“He commanded the zone and just did outstanding,” Wascom said. “The kids played well. We had a few errors early, but they overcame it, settled in and played well.”

Ben’s Ford began Thursday leading the best-of-three series one game to none. Thursday was a scheduled doubleheader with the second game an if necessary contest.

Ben’s Ford moves to the second round for another best-of-three series and plays Russell Academy at home 4 p.m. Tuesday. Thursday is a scheduled doubleheader at Russell with the second game being an if necessary contest.

Hines showed toughness in Thursday’s game. Newton’s leadoff hitter lined a pitch off of Hines’ thy. The ball went to third baseman Jordan Thomas, who threw to Shelby Culpepper for the out.

Hines threw a few practice pitches after being hit and remained in the game before going the distance.

“When it hit me, it really didn’t hurt that bad, but later on it started giving me troubles,” Hines said. “You just kind of suck it up. It’s a sport just like football. You get hurt, you gotta play through it for the team. It’s an important game. You’ve got to step up.”

Newton got on the board first in the second inning. Caleb McLemore singled to center to begin. After the first out, Braxton Rose singled. Hines struck out the next hitter. The Eagles attempted to pickoff the runner at first, but the wide throw allowed both to advance. The throw following the error went to second where the runner was safe. McLemore attempted to score, but a low allowed him to tally and the Generals were up 1-0.

Ben’s Ford responded. Hines was hit by a pitch to begin and courtesy runner Ryan Byrd moved up on a wild pitch. Cody Stewart tied the game with an RBI double to left field, bringing Byrd in.

Stewart talked about how it felt for the Eagles to win the series.

“It’s exciting,” Stewart said. “I don’t want it to end. None of us want it to end.”

Stewart said the key to their success has been team chemistry.

“Everybody plays together, everybody picks each other up I believe. That’s one of the main things that we have,” Stewart said.

Following Stewart’s double, Jordan Thomas sent another RBI double to left, plating Stewart with the go-ahead run. Garrett Pounds sacrificed Thomas to third and then Josh Crain made it 3-1 with a run-scoring single down the right field line, sending Thomas to the plate.

Ben’s Ford added another in the third. Cole Edwards reached on an error and advanced on a wild pitch. Hines was next and he singled to left. Edwards scored and it was 4-1.

Newton cut into the lead the following frame when McLemore was hit with one out. Kyle Pugh singled to center. After the second out was recorded, J.C. Alexander doubled down the third-base line and McLemore tallied, trimming it to 4-2. Hines struckout the next hitter, leaving runners at second-and-third then put it on cruise control the rest of the way.

Hines retired the Generals in order during the fifth-and-sixth. He got eight consecutive outs before Alexander ended the streak by drawing a one-out walk in the seventh. Hines struckout the next hitter before the final batter hit a soft liner to first, which Culpepper caught, ending the game and the series.