The Preston Pirate varsity fall baseball team got back on the winning track this past weekend with three wins at the Preston Wooden Bat Classic at the Jim Waller Sports Complex in Preston.
The Pirates completed their tournament sweep with an 11-3 win over the Stuart Hornets in this past Friday’s championship game.
The Preston squad began tournament play last Thursday with a dominating 22-0 win over the New Lima Falcons, then punched their ticket to the title game this past Friday morning with a 16-0 rout of the Crowder Demons in the semifinal round.
The next scheduled action for the Preston diamond squad will be this Thursday-Saturday at the Stuart Tournament, beginning tournament action Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against the Ripley junior varsity team.
In last Thursday’s opening-round rout of New Lima, all 22 of Preston’s runs in the contest came in the bottom of the first. The game ended on the run rule after New Lima was kept off the scoreboard in the top of the second.
The top offensive performer for the Pirates against New Lima was Jayden Herring, who finished 3 for 3 with two doubles, a triple, and 2 RBIs.
The other Preston batters with multi-hit games against New Lima were Easton Shaw (2 for 2, single, double, 2 RBIs), Bradley Winford (2 for 2, double, triple, 3 RBIs), and Hunter McElhannon (2 for 2, single, double, 3 RBIs) with two hits apiece.
The other base hits for the Pirates in the opening- round win came on a single by Dustin Dunlap, 2-run single by Braxton Kennedy, RBI triples by Kaden Dean and Luke Hankins, and a 3-run triple by Kellen Dean.
Other Preston baserunners against New Lima were Hankins (hit by pitch), Shaw (walk), Winford (RBI walk), McElhannon (RBI walk), Kennedy (walk), Kaden Dean (walk), Kellen Dean (walk), and Waylon Cope (error). Dunlap drove in one of the 22 runs in the first with an RBI groundout.
Pepper Gallup was awarded the pitching win for Preston, striking out one and walking one in one scoreless inning of work.
Trae Stidman hit a batter in his one scoreless inning of relief work in the second for the Pirates.
In Friday’s semifinal battle with Crowder, the Pirates did most of their offensive damage in the home half of the first, scoring 13 runs in the frame. The Preston squad added three more runs in the bottom of the second for the 16-0 decision.
The trio of Easton Shaw, Braxton Kennedy, and Bradley Winford worked one inning each on the mound for Preston against Crowder. Shaw got the start and struck out two, allowing just one hit in his one inning of work. Kennedy took over the pitching duties in the second and did not allow a hit or run in his inning of relief, walking one and hitting a batter. Winford struck out three and walked one in his one inning of scoreless relief in the third.
The top hitters for the Pirates against Crowder were Jayden Herring (2 for 2, 2 singles, RBI) and Kellen Dean (2 for 2, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs) with two hits apiece.
The other Preston base hits in the semifinal win came on RBI singles by Bradley Winford, Hunter McElhannon, and Tyce Herring, RBI double by Kaden Dean, and 2-run doubles by Luke Hankins and Waylon Cope.
Other Pirate baserunners against Crowder were Hankins (walk), Shaw (walk), Kennedy (walk), Bradley Winford (walk), Kaden Dean (walk), Trae Stidman (error), Randall Winford (error), Phoenix Finch (hit by pitch), Karson Herbert (walk), Ethan Bunner (fielder’s choice), and Dustin Dunlap (error).
In Friday’s championship game against Stuart, the Hornets opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first. The Pirates plated two runs in the home half of the inning for a 2-1 advantage, then added four in the second to lead by five, 6-1, after two innings of action.
After Stuart made it a 6-3 contest with two runs in the top of the third, the Preston squad put the finishing touches on its 11-run total with a 5-run bottom of the fourth.
The Pirate defense kept the Hornets off the scoreboard in the top of the fifth to award the host Preston squad the 11-3 victory and the tournament championship.
The Pirates were limited to just five hits in the title game with five different Preston batters recording a base hit in the contest. The five Preston hits against Stuart came on a single by Kaden Dean, double by Hunter McElhannon, triple by Jayden Herring, and 2-run singles by Kellen Dean and Easton Shaw.
Other Pirate baserunners in the title game were Herring (3 walks, RBI), Shaw (hit by pitch), McElhannon (RBI walk), Kaden Dean (error), Luke Hankins (walk, error), Bradley Winford (walk, hit by pitch), Braxton Kennedy (2 walks, RBI), and Dustin Dunlap (walk).
Kaden Dean worked the first two and two-third innings on the mound for Preston to earn the pitching win, allowing three runs on two hits with six walks and six strikeouts.
Shaw worked the final two and onethird innings in relief, striking out two and walking one while allowing just one base hit in a scoreless relief appearance.
— Preston Wooden Bat Classic First Round
Preston 22, New Lima 0
New Lima: 0 – 0 0 – 0 – 4 Preston: 22 – x 22 – 14 – 0 WP: Pepper Gallup LP: Ray HR: None — Semifinals
Preston 16, Crowder 0
Crowder:0-0-0 0-1-3 Preston: 13 – 3 – x 16 – 10 – 1 WP: Easton Shaw LP: Bloxham HR: None — Championship
Preston 11, Stuart 3
Stuart:1-0-2-0-0 3-3-3 Preston:2-4-0-5-x 11-5-1 WP: Kaden Dean LP: Stewart HR: None