(David Jenkins, Staff)
After one of their best seasons in recent memory last year, finishing 9-8, the Braves are well on their way to improving on that mark and are already realizing the moniker of a 'surprise team' is behind them.
"We'll probably see everyone's ace," Scott Central senior Bryan Freed said. "Not because we're a great team but the teams we beat last year that we shocked are wanting revenge."
Scott Central improved to 2-0 on the young season after defeating Egyptian, Ill., 11-1 in five innings on Friday at Scott Central High School.
"We have a lot more experience this year," Scott Central senior Josh Boese added. "We've been in games and we've won some big games. We don't get tight in those types of situations. We know we can pull them out."
And, believe it or not, the added pressure's of their highly successful basketball team comes in to play.
"You beat teams by 40 in basketball, everyone wants to make sure they beat you in baseball," Braves coach Matt Limbaugh said. "We're going to see everyone's ace and that's good for us. We've got to learn to step up to that challenge."
The Braves sprayed around 10 hits against Egyptian and received a complete game from sophomore Kamryn Johnson.
Johnson, who transferred from nearby Chaffee High School, allowed one run on five hits. He also struck out seven and walked none.
"You seen today that Kamryn is a great pitcher," Boese said, who was catching Johnson's every pitch behind the plate. "His fastball had good location. It was kind of hard for him to get his off speed going at first but, he was just locating his fastball and had it in command. He pitched well today."
Scott Central got going early in the bottom of the first inning. The Braves scored two runs by being aggressive on the basepath's and taking advantage of an infield error by Egyptian to lead 2-0.
Egyptian scored their lone run in the top of the third on an RBI single from Austin Caldwell.
The Braves added one more to their tally in their half of the third and then exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game on the 10-run rule.
RBI singles from Steven Minner and Blake Pobst added to the cause, as did and RBI double by Freed. Ben Freed drove in two runs on a single as well.
A bases loaded walk to Tyler Masters drove in the game-clinching run. Boese, Minner and Pobst each had two hits for the Braves.
The Pharaohs started Steven Salzoon on the mound. Salzoon went three innings and gave up three runs.
The Braves, who return eight starters from last season, still have their up and coming struggles however.
They left seven runners stranded and committed one error. They also had two instances where base running blunders cost them a chance to increase their advantage in the earlier innings.
Although they are proud of what took place last season, Limbaugh knows this year is about taking that next step.
"11-1 looks good in the newspaper but we've got a lot of work to do if we want to be in contention with some of the teams in our districts," Limbaugh said. "We have got to be able to come out that first inning fired up and wanting to swing the bats.
"We had some hits here and there but we still have to come up with a big hit. We left too many runners stranded and we have to put together a string of hits. We've got to get one through nine putting the ball in play. We're striking out way too many times."
It's growing pains that they know about are working to improve.
"We're just building on from last season," Freed said. "We accomplished a lot of things last year but, we still haven't got that district title yet. We're just working hard, trying to win as many games as we can and go from there."
Egyptian 001 00 -- 1
Scott Central 201 08 -- 11
WP -- Kamryn Johnson. LP -- Steven Salzoon. 2B -- (S) Bryan Freed.