In a doubleheader split Tuesday night in Jackson between District 15-A opponents, a couple particularly strong pitching performances dictated the results.
Payton Bankston was effective in a 3-2 Trinity Christian Academy win, and Kyle Slusser threw 13 strikeouts in a 4-2 Adamsville victory in the rematch.
Bankston’s only notable slip-up was a Carson Hopkins blast over the fence in left on his first pitch of the fourth inning.
“He made one bad pitch and that cost him a big hit, but other than that he was solid for the whole game,” TCA coach Johnny Growe said. “He’s been giving us solid performances, both he and Cooper [Pendergrass] have. Cooper was off his game tonight but both of those guys, when they’re out here they gave us a chance.”
Bankston allowed seven hits, striking out four batters.
Trinity (8-10, 3-3 district) took the first game, breaking a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning when Tyler Appell walked with one out and eventually advanced on home on three wild pitches.
Stone Craft singled and scored on Tyler Thomas’ RBI double in the third inning for a 1-0 lead. Adamsville (6-8, 3-4 district) answered with Hopkins’ blast and Dylan Lott’s bunt single that brough home Riley Jenkins.
Andrew Cobb’s sac fly scored a run for Trinity in the fifth before Appell scored to put Trinity ahead for good one inning later.
The best defensive play of the first game came early, when catcher Ryan Foster dove toward the backstop for an out.
The junior Slusser’s effort in the second game might have been the most dominant of the night, allowing only three hits.
“This is actually his first district game [to start],” Adamsville coach Renard Woodmore said. “He’s had some games where he had eight and seven [strikeouts] but this is the first time he went in double digits.
“I think he’s got kind of a herky-jerky motion the way he kind of pauses at the top, gets his foot down and stays on top of the baseball. He kind of throws hitters off a little bit with his motion.”
He outdueled Pendergrass, who pitched several clean innings but was tagged for four unearned runs in the fourth.
“We gave them seven outs,” Growe said.
Pendergrass brought in two runs with a third-inning single, though three Adamsville errors (one of which was Slusser’s) did not help the Cardinals.
Slusser looked bound for a tough-luck loss early, as Adamsville closed the second and third innings by lining into unassisted double plays. (After the second, coach Renard Woodmore walked past Cardinal fans near the backstop and asked “Anybody got a rabbit’s foot?”)
Austin Cotner might have found it in the fourth, driving in two runs and stealing home for a 4-2 lead.
Drew Harbin made a fine play in the fifth inning at third base when he fielded a ball at the foul line and made a long throw for an out, but TCA was finished scoring.
“I think Adamsville just outplayed us in the second game,” Growe said. “I was pleased with our performance in the first game and we just got outplayed in the second.”
Woodmore said he had to dismiss a couple senior pitchers earlier this season, but he’s hopeful his young Adamsville team (one senior, six sophomores who play regularly) is figuring things out.
“We always say if we take care of the details, the little things, [then] the big things will take care of themselves,” Woodmore said.
Craig Thomas, 425-9634