Garaway attacked early, scoring five runs out of the gate. After Austin Miller singled and was erased on Ethan Slentz’ fielder’s choice, Quinn Miller and Clay Hongiford both drew walks to load the bases. Joel Honigford blasted a shot to center for a single, plating one run, and a bases loaded walk to Tucker Boreman scored a second run, chasing starter Conner Landon.
West Holmes had a shot at escaping on a perfect double play ball, but Levi Jones’ throw sailed wide, allowing another run. When Wyatt Schwartz singled, West Holmes found itself in a huge hole.
However, the Knights actually had an opportunity to claw back into the game in the bottom of the first.
With one out, Jones and Trevor Kiner smacked back-to-back singles, and Garaway starter Jensen Shrock walked A.J. Race and Mitch Tyson to force in a run. Up stepped Buddy Beckett, who smoked a line drive up the middle that looked like it would really generate a lot of momentum for the Knights.
However, Garaway second baseman Wyatt Schwartz dove to his right, nagged the ball and nearly double off Race at second.
It was a big play, thwarting what could have been a huge inning for West Holmes.
“Buddy hit a rocket, and their kid was playing over toward second base kind of holding our runner on, and he hit it right at him,” said West Holmes coach Pim. “That’s kind of how it went all night.”
After Jake Donaldson, who had relieved starter Landon on the mound in the first inning for West Holmes, cruised through the second, West Holmes had another shot at getting something started.
Donaldson walked and was at third base when Levin Jones walked to put runners on the corner. Jones then tried to steal second, but was cut down by Honigford to end the inning.
From that point on, Garaway took command.
“Jensen struggled with his command some tonight, but he battled and worked his way out of trouble early,” said Garaway coach Justin Elmore. “That was huge for him to escape early. We preach all the time about minimizing damage.”
Honigford and Boreman would walk leading off the third, Schwartz would single to load the bases and a Miller single and a two-run hit by Slentz would make it 8-1.
Garaway would add two more in the top of the fifth when two more walks would come around to haunt West Holmes, the second one scoring on another Slentz hit.
West Holmes would usher 11 Pirates to first base via the free pass, and that is a definite recipe for disaster.
“You just can not walk that many people and hope to win baseball games,” said Pim. “Walks just killed us the whole game, because everything comes to a standstill.”
West Holmes pitchers would throw 126 total pitches in the game, as Pim sent five pitchers to the mound.
Wyatt Mellor would single for the Knights in the fifth, and Trenton Yoder and Jones would result in one run. However, Jensen would work out of trouble, getting a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kiner, and two lazy fly outs to end the inning.
Now leading 10-2, Garaway would salt the game away by scoring three in the sixth, courtesy of four walks and yet another Slentz RBI single.
The win marks Garaway’s seventh straight win, and Elmore said the Pirates are settling into a comfortable routine mid way through the season.
“Defensively and on the mound we were doing OK early, but the biggest piece of the puzzle for us has been our hitting has come around,” said Elmore.
It seems like we are coming together at the right time.”
Elmore went on to talk about the importance of having patience against a Knights’ pitching staff that was struggling to throw strikes. He credited his players with not being too eager at the plate to produce, and letting the game come to them.
For the Knights, it was a struggle all night long to find the plate, and a game they will surely want to erase from memory.
“It’s one of those ugly game you have to forget about and go on,” said Pim.