LAUREL HILL — Paxton School's Grant Stewart and Laurel Hill's Boomer Simmons took the mound in a battle of lefties Tuesday as the Hoboes hosted the Bobcats in a renewal of their District 1-1A baseball rivalry.
The rival duo combined for 23 of the 29 strikeouts in the game with Stewart having the upper hand fanning 13 batters as the Paxton rolled to a 9-0 win.
Photo gallery>>>Tuesday's Laurel Hill baseball game.
Stewart struck out the side in the second, third and fifth innings.
Simmons struck out 10 Bobcats, half of them on called third strikes, in five innings of work.
Stewart and Paxton relievers Dustin Geoghagan and Marcus Bradley combined for 15 strikeouts while hold the Hoboes to just one hit.
The Bobcats managed 10 hits, but only three of their nine runs were earned.
"The energy level just isn't where Paxton and Laurel Hill has been in the past," Bobcat coach Jeff Bradley said. "I think that's because both teams are so young. Both teams are trying to find our place.
"We've been able to all year. We've been able to fight and claw and get some seeing-eye singles. It's better to have a win like this than it is to have a pretty loss."
Paxton (11-0, 6-0) struck early scoring a pair of runs in the first inning. Stewart led off the game with a base hit. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Forrest Whibbing.
Goeghagan was hit by a pitch. Stewart and Geoghagan scored as Kaleb Newborn and Bradley were safe on errors.
Paxton pushed the lead to 5-0 with three more unearned runs in the fourth. Geoghagan had the big hit of the inning, a two run double to score Stewart and Whibbing. Austin Carnley, who led off the inning with a base hit, scored as Whibbing was safe on a Hobo error with two outs.
Paxton added another run in the fifth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Stewart led the Bobcat attack with three hits and two runs scored. Geoghagan had a pair of hits and two runs scored. And Carnely had two hits.
Jayce Davis had the loan Laurel Hill hit, a lead off single in the fifth.
"I guess spring break affected us the wrong way," Laurel Hill coach Ronnie Smith said. "When you just get one hit you're not going to beat Paxton. Boomer always give us a chance.
"I still like this baseball team. The guys didn't hang their heads and they kept battling. We are still have eight games before district tournament to get better."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.