CRESTVIEW — Day one of the Justin Richards Scholarship Baseball Tournament ended Thursday with the Crestview red team positioned at a possible run for the tournament title after beating Baker 10-1 and Freeport 8-1.
The Crestview Gray still had an outside shot at the title, but it might need some help after splitting the two games on opening day of the tournament. The Gray beat Baker 4-3 and lost to Choctawhatchee 6-2.
Baker’s hopes of repeating as tournament champs look bleak after the two opening day losses.
“I thought they played good,” Crestview Coach Tim Gillis said after his teams went a combined three and one on the day. “We had some good pitching (on the Red). I thought we pitched it great on the Gray team too.
“We just had a couple of times when we didn’t come up with a hit in a couple of situations. It’s been good so far. We are trying to get better and get some reps in.”
Gray 4, Baker 3
Corey Armstrong’s 3-run homer capped a come-from-behind win for the Bulldogs in the tournament’s opening game.
Kaleb Casey started the Gray rally with a two-out single. Bryant Berry walked and B.A. Larkins singled to score Casey.
Armstrong wasted no time in putting an exclamation point on the win as he hammered a hanging curve ball from Austin Hicks deep over the fence in left field.
The Gators scored the first runs of the tournament in the fourth inning as they connected on four hits for two runs.
Jonathan Gatewood started things off with a one-out single. John Sackrider and Bubba Ellis continued the hit parade. Ellis’ hit scored Gatewood. Two batters later Austin Walters singled in Sackrider.
The Gators added a run in the fifth when Walers drove in Ellis, who reached on an error.
Red 10, Baker 1
Crestview scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back on the way to a resounding win.
Dustin Kervin led off the Bulldog first with a base hit. Travis Wiljakainen and Devin Wimmer drew two-out walks to set the stage for Jared Gaszek.
Gaszek singled to score Kervin and Wiljakainen. Rodderick Skinner later delivered a hit to score Wimmer and Gaszek.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the second and four more in the fourth.
Kervin had two hits, a walk and scored three runs. Gaszek drove in three runs and Alec Whited had a pair of hits and scored twice.
Wiljakainen and Whited teamed up on the mound to hold the Gators to a single run in the third inning.
Baker Coach Adam Henry has seven freshmen on the summer squad and every game is a learning experience.
“We were mixing and matching folks,” he said. “Towards the end of the first game we shot ourselves in the foot. But the last game, we didn’t come out to play, it seemed like.
“We didn’t play well the second game, but it’s early. We’ve got a lot of young guys coming out and working with us. I just want to see them progress,”
Choctawhatchee 6, Gray 2
Indian pitcher Chandler Carlyle went the distance on the mound to hand the host Bulldogs their first loss of the tournament.
Choctaw scored first in the fourth inning when Carlyle singled off Armstrong and scored on an Isaac Smith double.
Runs by Jordan Chamberlain and Austin Polk in the fifth inning put the Bulldogs up 2-1. But Choctaw roughed up Bulldog relief pitcher Dayne Justice with three runs in the sixth. The Indians added two more in the seventh inning to pull away with the win.
Red 8, Freeport 1
A six-run fifth inning was the turning point as the Crestview Red rolled to the win.
Kervin and Whited each scored twice. Kervin scored in the first inning and the sixth inning while Whited scored in the third and sixth.
Matt Bottom started the big Crestview sixth off with a pinch hit walk. Wimmer had a two-run double and Gaszak a two-run single in the sixth.
Seth Forrest picked up the win holding Freeport to a single run in the fifth. Gaszak worked the sixth inning to close out the win as the game was called on the time limit.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.