After its originally-scheduled season opener was rained out two days earlier, the Apalachee baseball team got the 2021 season off to a roaring start Wednesday, Feb. 17, with an 11-4 home win over Gainesville.
Junior Manning West went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and struck out nine batters in 4 1/3 innings on the mound to lead the Wildcats (1-0). Judah Powell went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and drove in three runs.
Apalachee scored two runs apiece in the first and second innings, three in the third and another in the fourth to open up a commanding 8-2 lead. The Red Elephants cut the deficit to 8-4 in the top of the sixth, but the Wildcats responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame on a two-run double by Powell and RBI single by Traver Park.
After West left the mound, Jesse Greenway pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief and Jordan Wilson worked a scoreless seventh, striking out the side to close out the game. Greenway had two strikeouts.
The Wildcats will be back in action Friday, Feb. 19, when they travel to Morgan County for a 5:30 p.m. start. They'll host Collins Hill at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20.
Bulldoggs top Archer in opener
Meanwhile, Winder-Barrow got its season off to a successful start on the road Wednesday, picking up a 7-3 win over Archer in Lawrenceville.
Highly-touted Bulldogg senior shortstop Brady House homered on the first pitch of the game, and the Bulldoggs (1-0) scored four runs in the top of the second to take a 5-2 lead that ultimately held up. House drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game, Andrew Lewis followed with an RBI sacrifice fly and Dre Lewis reached on an error that brought in two more runs.
After Archer cut the Winder-Barrow lead to 5-3 in the third, the Bulldoggs got back-to-back RBI singles from Carson Royal and Noah Lee in the fifth to up 7-3. Evan Coleman had two hits for the Bulldoggs.
Andrew Lewis and Lleyton Jones pitched two innings apiece for the Bulldoggs, and Ken Shipman worked the final three scoreless frames to pick up the save.
The Bulldoggs will host Evans at 7 p.m. Friday and Lakeside, Evans at 4 p.m. Saturday.