The first of his homers came in the third, when he deposited a 2-0 fastball over the wall in left center. In his next at bat the following inning, he went to the opposite field with the bases loaded to open up the game.
“He improves, it seems like, every day,” said Willard coach Scott McGee. “Just another outstanding day.”
Presley finished 2-for-4 at the plate, driving in all five Willard (16-9, 4-3 Central Ozark Conference) runs. Wednesday marked the second time in his high school career that he’d hit two homers in a game after doing it against Harrison, Ark. last year.
But Presley wasn’t the only Willard player that shined on Wednesday. Starting pitcher Tyler Austin, also a senior, held Republic (9-11, 0-7 COC) in check all day, striking out 10 and allowing just one run in 6 2/3 innings.
“Tyler has started for us five times this spring and he’s been strong all five times out,” said McGee. “He throws his off-speed stuff for strikes in any count, holds runners, and he’s just the ultimate pitcher. He really competes, and we’re really proud of his progress over the last four years.”
After Presley’s first homer, Republic took a brief lead—scoring twice in the fourth inning off an RBI double by Dustin Eby and a throwing error by the Willard catcher. Republic had chances to add to the lead, but stranded nine men on base.
Instead, Willard took advantage of a pair of hit-batsmen and a single from Niklaus Hooper to load the bases for Presley, leading to his power display.
“I think we’re probably a little bit underrated because of the way we’ve played the last few weeks,” said McGee, whose team had lost five of its seven before Wednesday’s victory. “Ultimately, we’re going to have to go into the district and play well three times. We feel good about our chances of doing that.”
Dorial Green-Beckham is now an Oklahoma Sooner.
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