LAUREL HILL — Silver linings have been hard to come by in what has been a cloudy season for the Laurel Hill School baseball team.
A young Hobo squad short on upperclassmen that has struggled throughout the season has still shown a fighting spirit that makes Coach Ronnie Smith proud.
The Hoboes spotted Malone High School 10 runs in the top of the first inning Tuesday and then showed their fight hanging tough the rest of the way in a 14-3 loss. The game was called after four innings on the 10-run rule.
Laurel Hill was down 10-1 after the first inning and trailed 13-1 after two. The Hoboes outscored the Tigers 2-1 in the last three innings.
“At least they competed,” Smith said. “I have a bunch of young kids out there and they competed. They didn’t lay down.
“I didn’t see any feeling sorry for yourselves. I think the cream has finally risen to the top. It’s not as sweet as it should be right now, but maybe one day this bunch will get us back in the hunt.”
Malone couldn’t do anything wrong in the first inning as the Tigers sent 15 batters to the plate and pounded out nine hits off Hobo starting pitcher Jayce Davis. Four Laurel Hill errors gave the Tigers some unneeded help as Malone led 10-0 before the Hoboes came to bat.
Laurel Hill got a run back in the bottom of the first. Chase Locke singled and later scored on a Ben Perez hit for the first Hobo run.
The Tigers scored three more runs on three hits and a walk by Davis in the second inning to go up 13-1.
Davis was touched for 12 hits, some of which were misplayed balls, while striking out four Tiger batters and giving up the one walk in the second inning.
Max Smith took the mound for the Hoboes in the third inning and held Malone to a third-inning unearned run the rest of the way.
Smith didn’t allow a hit in three innings of work. He did give up four walks and he struck out two.
Laurel Hill picked up two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Tiger relief pitcher Antwoin Johnson struggled to find the strike zone.
Johnson walked Locke to lead off the inning and then hit Davis with a pitch. Garret King drew a one-out walk to load the bases.
Justin Simmons walked with two outs to score Locke. Logan Ficket was hit by a pitch scoring Davis for the final run of the game.
The Hoboes had four hits on the day with Locke, Perez, Logan Alford and Sam Durum each getting a hit.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.