It wasn't exactly an inning to put in the postseason highlight reel, but for the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Warriors, scoring three runs in any inning this baseball season is reason to celebrate.
So after three fifth-inning runs on a single hit keyed a 5-1 nonregion win over Trion on Friday, LFO coach Johnny Burch wasn't being picky.
"I'll take it every day," a smiling Burch said about the inning that also included three walks and a hit batter. "That's what we preach to these guys. It's hard to pound out six or seven hits in a row, but you can get on base and take advantage of them. The big thing for us this year is scoring runs. We've lost a ton of games 3-2 and 2-1, so a run here and there makes a big difference."
LFO (6-10) has scored three or fewer runs in each of its 10 defeats, so Friday's outburst, which came on just four hits, was much-needed medicine. It also pleased Burch that senior pitcher Cole Ellis continued his resurgence after an adjustment with his arm angle two starts ago. Ellis limited Trion (10-6) to five hits, struck out eight and walked one.
"We switched my arm angle to three-quarters and I've probably picked up three or four miles an hour on my fastball," Ellis said. "We've struggled this year scoring, so to get this win after winning at Adairsville is big. We've got to find a way to get in the playoffs, so, mentally, this is a nice win for us."
LFO scored two runs in the second on freshman No. 9 hitter Tommy Hicks' two-out single, then stretched the lead to five in the fifth when a hit and two walks loaded the bases, Bradley Travis was hit by a Donald Morgan pitch, Cory Crawford walked and Ellis had an RBI groundout.
Ellis then did the rest. He allowed more than one baserunner just once, though the Bulldogs had him on the ropes in the sixth when a walk, single and hit batter loaded the bases with one out. Ellis struck out the next Trion batter looking, but Brian Wilson reached him for an RBI single before he induced Caleb Tinney to pop out.
"It is a good way to start the second half," Burch said. "Let's start a new slate and see what we can do down the stretch. We're healthy the last few ballgames and our pitching is getting better. I feel good about the progress we're making."
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...