Hornets take game one against Lake

Published 10:25 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

LOYD STAR — Lake drove in five runs in the top of the seventh inning and had a man on second base with two outs to make things interesting. Loyd Star held a narrow 6-5 lead when relief pitcher Carter Holcomb spun on the mound and fired a pickoff throw to record the last out and secure a win for the Hornets Tuesday night.

Loyd Star had entered the inning with a 6-0 lead on Lake. However, a series of walks, hits and a fielders choice led to five runs being scored in the final inning. Blake Thornton was the starting pitcher for the Hornets and he struck out eight batters in his outing over 6 1/3 innings of work but had to trust his teammates to finish the game.

“I was kind of upset but I know my relievers had it and I trusted them,” Thornton said. “I had to play defense if the ball was hit to me.”

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He watched from third base as the final out was recorded to win the first game of a best of three playoff series against Lake. Thornton hurled 120 pitches, 65 of which were strikes, Eli Thornto threw 30 pitches and Holcomb threw seven pitches. Loyd Star issued seven walks on the night.

Loyd Star opened the scoring in the second inning tallying two runs. Colby Terrell scored Nathan Mills on a single and Garrett Carwyle singled to drive in Conner Cunningham. They added two more runs in the fifth inning with a wild pitch scoring Thornton and a ground out scored Casen DeHart.

Caleb Smith drove in Carwyle while reaching base on an error in the sixth inning. Holcomb singled to right field to score Dehart and to finish the night with a team high two RBIs.

Thornton said as a team they could have hit the ball better. On defense, they played solid ball and did not make a single error the entire game. Thornton said he felt great on the mound with his team behind him.

“I was trying to think about just throwing strikes and letting the defense work behind me. It helps tremendously when your defense can work behind you,” Thornton said. “You don’t have to worry about anything. That is what I did tonight.”

He attributed his eight strikeouts to his coach calling the right pitches and his catcher DeHart doing great behind the plate. Following the game, DeHart encouraged the team. Loyd Star will play game 2 at Lake on Friday.

“DeHart has always been a leader for us,” Thornton said. “We will have to hit the ball better Friday and we can’t walk guys. That is what killed us tonight.”