Meridian blanks No. 12 Louisville
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
April 16, 2004
LOUISVILLE Meridian High School rode a pair of multiple-base hits in the second inning and a strong pitching performance by Ken Mitts to take a 6-0 win over Louisville on Thursday.
The Meridian High Wildcats (21-7), who are ranked 11th in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger poll, tallied nine hits to the 12th-ranked Louisville Wildcats' (19-5) three hits to claim victory in the opening game of the Louisville Baseball Tournament.
Meridian High will continue play in the tournament at 7 p.m. today against Houston, as the Wildcats prepare for their first-round playoff matchup against Olive Branch on April 22.
"We told our guys that we are going to play two quality opponents before the playoffs, and we need to play as well as we can right now," said Meridian High head baseball coach Vince McLemore.
Mitts struck out 16 batters and walked one to pick up the complete-game victory and improve his record to 7-1. The senior pitcher struck out the side in the third inning, and recorded the last two outs of the game with strikeouts.
"That was the sharpest (Mitts) has been in his last two outings," McLemore said. "I know he has pitched well, but today, he was extremely sharp with his pitches. He did an outstanding job against a great ballclub."
Meridian High left fielder Kimone McDade delivered the first run against Louisville in the second inning, blasting a home run over the left field fence. McDade's homer was his team-high fourth of the season.
Meridian High first baseman Kedric Martin added to the lead with an RBI double down the right field line to bring home designated hitter Taylor Scarbrough, who reached base on a walk for a 2-0 lead.
Chris Harris added another run to Meridian High's lead in the top of the third inning with an assist from two Louisville wild pitches.
"The early lead is always big, especially against a home opponent," McLemore said. "The thing was we kept adding to the lead. That is what we stress."
Meridian High posted three more runs in the top of the seventh inning off three hits and one Louisville error to cap the scoring.
Third baseman Tyler McMullen opened the scoring in the three-run rally with an RBI single, and Mitts brought home a run with a double for a 5-0 lead. Meridian High catcher Rodney Warren drove in the final run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center field.
"It gave a cushion to the pitcher," McLemore said of the three-run seventh. "It had to make Ken a little more comfortable going into the last inning."
Mitts gave up a single to the first batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh, but the right-hander settled in and induced a flyout to right field and struck out the next batter for two outs. He recorded the last out, after hitting a batter, striking out the Louisville batter looking.
Harris and Warren each went 2-for-4 for Meridian High with a single and a double in the win.