(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- With his teammates playing flawless defense behind him, New Madrid County Central's Kyle Harris provided the Eagles with five shutout innings to guide the Eagles to their fourth win of the season.
Knocking out seven hits while taking advantage of nine Risco errors on Monday, the Eagles won 10-0 in five innings on the mercy rule.
"I still wish we would do a few things a little bit better," NMCC head coach Joseph McClarty said. "But all-in-all it was a good effort. Kyle threw strikes and we played good defense behind him.
"I think this is the first time this year we played pretty good defense so things look really good from that standpoint."
After forcing the Tigers to strand a leadoff runner in each of the first two innings, the Eagles came up in the bottom of the second and took advantage of a booted ball on the infield.
With two outs and a runner on first, C.J. Chism drove a double over the left fielders head that allowed a runner to score from first.
In the bottom of the third, the Eagles got an initial strikeout, five straight Eagles would reach base before coming around to score.
Taking advantage of five Tiger errors in the frame, NMCC loaded the bases before a missed ball on the right side of the infield scored the first two runs of the rally.
Loading the bases again, with two outs, Chism singled up the middle to plate another two runs as the Eagles went up 5-0.
Capping the rally was Tripp Keense with a line drive to left to score Timmy Clayton from third.
"We put the ball in play and they made a few errors here and there," McClarty said. "(Risco Coach Brandon) Blankenship will get those guys ready when it's district time. He had a good group of young guys, they just didn't make a few of the plays and we then we made them pay when they didn't make the play."
Blanked in the fourth, NMCC came up in the bottom of the fifth still four runs shy of a run rule win. Putting runners on first and second to open the frame, Sam Barnett pushed his team ahead with an RBI double to left-center field.
After the Eagles plated another two runs on an error that cleared runners from second and third, Gabe Smith stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs.
Needing only one more run to send NMCC home with a win, Smith line a shot down the third base line to bring home the winning run in a 10-0 run-rule win.
"Their pitcher threw a good game," Blankenship said. "We made several errors, but I think the difference in the ball game was their hitters went to the plate ready and expecting to hit and I don't think our guys did today."
In picking up the win, Harris pitched five scoreless innings, surrendering two hits and three walks while striking out 10. In four of the five frame, Harris allowed the initial runner to reach, only to escape unscathed each time.
Giving Risco its best offensive opportunity of the afternoon, Harris gave up a walk and hit to start the fourth with runners on first and second with no outs. In striking out the two of the next three batters, however, Harris escaped the inning.
"He threw really well and for the most part he kept the ball down and when they put it in play, we made the play," McClarty said. "One thing our pitchers have to get a little bit better at doing is pitching with a lead. When you get a lead like that you just have to go in there and throw strikes and try to keep that leadoff runner on. It didn't hurt us today, but in the future it could come back and bite us if we're not careful."
With seven hits on the contest, Chism went 2 for 3 with a double and three runs batted in. Barnett had a double while Keene, Smith, Jimm Ash and Josh Reed each singled.
For Risco, Jordan Pavy and Caleb McCord each singledfor the team's only two hits.
"I just didn't feel like our approach was very good," Blankenship said. "I didn't feel like we were aggressive and we were looking at too many pitches. We had five or more guys strike out on called third strikes.
"It's not a good day when you do that. Hats off to their pitcher though. I don't want to take away anything from (Harris), but you have to have the right mental approach when you step to the plate. You have to be aggressive and they were."
Risco 000 00 - 0 2 9
NMCC 015 04 - 10 7 0
WP -- Kyle Harris. LP -- Caleb McCord. Multiple hitters: (N) C.J. Chism 2-3. 2B -- (N) Sam Barnett, Chism.