Pope John Paul II’s three-through-six hitters combined to go 11-for-20 with 12 RBIs and lead the Knights to a 14-4, six-inning DII-AA East/Middle region win over host Ensworth on Thursday.
“There was a lot of production out of the middle today and we’ve got to have that,” Pope John Paul coach Michael Brown said.
Logan Taylor got the scoring started with a three-run homer to right to give Pope John Paul a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third.
Taylor finished 4-for-5 with a game-high five RBIs.
“I’ve been kind of feeling pretty good,” Taylor said. “And I’ve been taking some swings with the coaches and I’ve kind of been on a roll lately, so I’m seeing it pretty well.”
Ensworth answered, using RBIs from Wylie Lowe, Coleman Goodwin and Greyson Lampley to tie it 3-3 after three innings.
Letting the lead slip away didn’t faze Pope John Paul, however, as the Knights pounded out five runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to jump ahead 13-3.
Ensworth (12-6, 3-4) added a run in the fifth on a Tanner Antonutti RBI double to keep the game alive, but an Ensworth error with the bases loaded pushed the Pope John Paul (15-5, 4-4) lead back to 10 and the game ended after six innings by virtue of the mercy rule.
“I think the best thing about today’s game is for the first time in the conference we handled some adversity,” Brown said. “We didn’t melt, we didn’t panic. We came right back and kept scoring.”
The Knights’ Mark Botsko pitched 31/3 innings to pick up the win while the Tigers’ Chandler Schultz was saddled with the loss.
“Their guys can really hit,” Ensworth coach Jason Maxwell said. “We’ve got to find a way to get these guys out tomorrow.”
After beating Ensworth 8-2 Wednesday and piling on 14 more runs Thursday, the Knights can complete a sweep the three-game series Friday at home.
“I think our confidence is pretty high,” Taylor said, “but I think we know we’ve still got a job to do tomorrow.”
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.