Mount Gilead absorbed a four-run first inning by visiting Danville Wednesday evening and wound up on the right side of a 9-6 game.
“We have done that all year long,” said Indian coach Mark Kennon. “If we get past the first inning, then everything goes well. The kids are very resilient this year. They just don’t quit.”
Early on, it looked like the team’s offense would be stymied by the Blue Devils. After giving up four runs in the top of the first, they could only get one baserunner in both the first and second innings.
The third frame would be a different story, though. With two outs and runners on first and second base, the team got a two-run hit by Paul Butterman to cut the Danville lead in half. Garrett George then drew a walk and the bases would be loaded after a pop-up by Zack Davidson was dropped.
Blue Devil pitcher Gavin Lepley then struggled with his control, walking Nick Garvey to bring in one run and hitting Cade Smith for the tying score. Tyler McKinney then laced a two-run single to put MG on top.
“That’s been the big thing,” Kennon said of his team’s offense, which has scored 37 runs in three days. “In the past, the bats haven’t been there and the defense has. Now, the defense is where it has been and the bats are working. That makes us a more dangerous team.”
An RBI double in the top of the fourth by Wyatt Weckesser cut the MG lead to one, but they would rebound in the fourth when Davidson drove in Owen Blanton with a single. In the fifth, they would increase their advantage to 8-5 when Carter Kennon drove in Blanton with a triple.
Kennon, who also was the Indian starter on the mound, ran into some trouble early in the sixth inning, allowing the first two Danville batters to reach base. Coach Kennon then went to Paul Butterman to earn the save. While he gave up an inherited run, he prevented Danville from doing too much damage.
Then, after MG got a run on a Garvey groundout in the bottom of the sixth, Butterman was able to navigate the seventh without any trouble to preserve the come-from-behind win for the Indians.
“We had some key hits tonight,” said Mark Kennon. “And I had a proud dad moment with my son on the mound for the first time and he got the win. Paul came in and he’s come in twice in big situations and done a good job.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS