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A consistent pitching staff and equally impressive hitting were the deciding factors in Stockton's road victory.
“We set back and hit the ball well,” Stockton head coach Steve Ewing said. “We got hot hitting the ball early; it was base hit after base hit. We can get on an offensive roll and put up nine runs of our own in a single inning. That provides some necessary confidence.”
The opening innings of the game started off in favor of Stockton, as the Tigers came out focused - establishing an early 9-0 lead after the top half of the first inning.
Gaining the early momentum was pivotal to Stockton’s success the rest of the game.
Pleasant Hope struggled defensively in the opening inning, committing three errors and not forcing an out until the eighth batter of Stockton’s lineup. Slapping mostly singles and the occasional double, the Tigers put themselves in prime position to control the rest of the Mid-Lakes matchup.
Stockton junior pitcher, Ryan Tate, was sharp to start the game, as he consistently forced Pleasant Hope into poor offensive showings at the plate.
“Going into the bottom of the first inning with a nine-run lead, that provided a major confidence booster for our team and our pitcher,” Ewing said.
The Pirates were able to put two runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first, providing Pleasant Hope the confidence, both offensively and defensively, to keep fighting their way back into the game.
After the high scoring first inning, both teams began settling down. Stockton put up two more runs in the second, and Pleasant Hope retaliated with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, bringing the lead up to 11-5.
Stockton continued to their momentum to close out Pleasant Hope on the road by a margin of four runs.