By John Miller
WILLARD, Mo. – One big inning and a dominant pitching performance was all Willard needed.
The Tigers scored nine fourth-inning runs to back a complete game performance from Benjamin Fugitt as Willard run-ruled Bolivar 12-0 on Friday evening at Tom Greenwade Field.
Fugitt struck out 10 in the five inning, complete game performance, allowing only one hit. At one point, he retired 10 in a row and had five consecutive strikeouts.
“I felt like my fastball was good and my slider was working really well,” the Truman State commit said. “I got a lot of strikeouts with my slider. I just wanted to attack every batter and try not to pitch around anyone. If they could hit me, let them do it. Just wanted to have an attacking mindset.”
His coach was encouraged by Pruitt’s effort.
“The command of his offspeed pitches were really good,” Willard coach Scott McGee said. “He fell behind a couple times and battled back. He’s got such a bright future ahead of him.”
Willard’s bats took advantage of Bolivar’s pitching, pounding out 10 hits and working eight walks in only four innings of offense. The Tigers (18-4) scored twice in the second, once in the third, and nine times in the fourth to open it up.
“We did a little bit of everything,” McGee said. “Drew some walks, had some bunt singles, had some good line drives to the pull side, some good line drives the other way, stole some bases. It was kind of vintage Willard baseball.”
The inning lasted so long that Fugitt had to play catch with a teammate just to stay warm.
“That was some great run support,” Fugitt said. “I played catch a little bit to make sure my arm was good for the fifth
In his first pitching outing of the year, Bolivar (11-7) starter Deacon Banner lasted three innings, surrendering three runs. The Liberators used three separate pitchers in the fourth inning alone before they escaped further damage.
Bolivar 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Willard 0 2 1 9 X 12 10 1
Willard: Russell 2, Morris 2 (3B), Norris 2, Campbell 2, Owen 2 (2B)