Vina tops Phillips 7-5 for key area win

By Staff
Scot Beard
BEAR CREEK – The ninth-ranked Vina baseball team looked a little rusty Monday during the early innings of its game against Phillips.
The Red Devils had not played since the previous Tuesday and the lack of action showed, but by the third inning Vina found its rhythm and picked up a 7-5 victory.
"I think the layoff hurt us," said Vina coach Greg Hamilton. "We're ecstatic to win."
Phillips took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but Vina answered with a pair of runs in the third to take the lead.
Cody Renfroe led off the inning by drawing a walk and stealing second. Brent Townsend drove Renfroe home with a single to right field.
Townsend then stole second and the throw from the catcher to the second baseman went into the outfield, allowing Townsend to advance to third.
Nick Schmittou drove Townsend home with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Red Devils' lead did not last long as Phillips scored in the bottom of the third to tie the game 2-2.
That didn't last either.
Channing Haithcock singled to lead of the inning and moved to second on a steal. Two batters later Keith Hester drew a walk.
Both players stole a base to move to second and third and scored on a triple by Townsend, who later scored on a pass ball to give Vina 5-2 advantage.
Adam Pharr reached on an error by the shortstop in the fifth inning, stole second and moved to third on a pass ball. Clay Pierce drew a walk and stole second to give the Red Devils a pair of players in scoring position.
Hester capitalized on the situation by singling down the third baseline to drive home both runners and pushing Vina's lead to 7-2.
Phillips responded in the fifth with a solo homer to cut the deficit to four runs.
They added two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull within tow, but Vina was able to end the threat before the Bears could tie the game.
Townsend pitched 6.2 innings, allowing five runs, seven hits and striking out three. He issued two walks.
He left with two outs in the seventh and a runner on second. Morgan McCarley struck out the only batter he faced to end the game.
The game was much closer than it could have been.
Vina stranded eight runners on base – four of those were on third while three more were on second.
Hamilton was not pleased with stranding so many runners in scoring position.
"That's what is killing us," Hamilton said. "They have to wake up to that."
Townsend had two singles, a triple and scored a pair of runs to lead the Red Devils while McCarley hit a pair of singles.
Pharr reached base twice, both times on errors and Pierce singled, doubled and drew a walk.
Haithcock and Patrick White had one single each while Hester singled and drew a walk.
Renfroe drew a walk.
With the win, Vina improves to 6-5 on the season and 1-0 in area play.