Calhoun City defeated Bruce 17-8 at Odis Logan Field at Bruce Park Tuesday night in the first district meeting between the two teams this season.
“Both teams hit the ball good at times, but neither team pitched the ball or played defense very well. I can't imagine how many walks and hit batters both teams had,” Calhoun City Coach Josh Miller said. “Give it up to our guys, because even after Bruce found a way to come back, they came up with the big hits when we needed them, which was the difference in a win or a loss.”
Calhoun City improved to 2-0 in division and Bruce dropped to 1-1.
“Anytime you have 16 hit batters and walks combined you're not going to win,” Bruce Coach Josh Dowdy said. “We’ve struggled hitting. We came in this week and worked on it and I thought we hit the ball well tonight. The key to the game was pitching. We couldn't throw strikes. When you don't throw strikes it's hard to get people out.”
Calhoun City opened the scoring in the second inning with the first two runs coming on a bases loaded walk and hit by pitch. Another run scored on an infield single by Rainer Nichols, and Ryne Lee drove home another with a sacrifice fly.
Chakel Gates then increased the lead to 6-0 with a two-run double.
Bruce answered in the bottom of the second with two runs. Benji Haire and Trey Hall followed a walk with a pair of singles to load the bases and two runs would then score on a Wildcat error.
The Trojans would draw even closer in the fourth when Tyler Lester hit a two-run double. Bruce nearly tied the game when Taylor Shoemake attempted to score on the play, but he was gunned down at the plate by Cyle Havens from left field.
“That was definitely a big play,” Miller said. “We moved him there (to left field) last week and he's been playing really well.”
The Wildcats would increase their lead again in the top of the fifth. They first scored two runs on a pair of Bruce errors. Steele Liles then drove home a run with a single for a 9-5 Wildcat lead.
Malik Hobson came in to relieve Bruce starter Joseph Lester at that point. Layton Morgan and Rashad Turner would pitch in relief later in the game. After a walk plated another run, Ryne Lee doubled home three more for a 13-5 Calhoun City lead.
Colby Havens took over on the mound for the Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth, relieving starter Jace Leachman.
He held the Trojans in check until the bottom of the sixth when after a lead off bunt single by Rashad Turner and a double by Taylor Shoemake, Bailey Nix drove home a run with a line-drive single to center. The Trojans then loaded the bases and drew two walks to force home two more runs to cut the deficit to 13-8 heading to the seventh.
The Wildcats opened it up again in the top of the inning scoring four runs. The big blow came on a two-rune double by Jordan England.
Shoemake led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, but the Wildcats turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
Bruce won the first meeting between the two teams 14-4 in the East Webster Tournament. They will meet again in division play in Calhoun City on April 5.
Bruce is scheduled to host Potts Camp in a division game Friday and then Vardaman visits Bruce Saturday.
Calhoun City will hold its annual “Alumni Game” Friday night at 7 p.m. They play Eupora Saturday. The Wildcats next division game is next Tuesday at home against Potts Camp.