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Squirrels' bats come alive in opening round of regional

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In this file photo, Charleston slugger Tim Hillis swings at a New Madrid County offering earlier this season.
(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)

MONTROSE, Co. -- Combining for 13 hits on Wednesday, the Charleston Fighting Squirrels opened up the Midwest Plains Regional Tournament with a 13-10 win over Junction City, Kan.

"All we're worried about is that we had (at least) one more run than them and we advance to play tomorrow," Charleston head coach Michael Minner said.

Already holding a 4-2 lead going into the fifth innings, the Squirrels looked like they had put it away when they five runs in the next two frames to pull away at 9-3. Junction City rebounded with a five-run rally in the bottom of the sixth, however, to close back to within a run at 9-8.

The Squirrels tacked on another four runs in the top of the seventh to get a little breathing room before holding Junction City to two runs in its last trip to the plate to seal the win.

"It got wild everywhere," said Minner, whose team committed seven errors on the contest. "We walked some people, kicked a few balls and things just didn't go our way. But we kept plugging along and did what we normally do.

"We didn't get too wound up about the good or the bad. We just kept playing Fighting Squirrel baseball."

Picking up the win, starter Paul Fox pitched four, full innings for the Squirrels. He held Junction City to four hits and two walks while striking out two. Both runs Fox gave up were unearned.

Tim Hillis pitched 1 1/3 innings to earn the save. He gave up a hit, two walks and a earned run while striking out two.

At the plate Brad Potts and Jacob Wilson had three hits apiece to lead Charleston as they outhit Junction City 13-8. Two of Wilson's hits were doubles as he drove in four runs.

Others contributing to the Squirrels' cause where Hillis with a hit and three RBI and Travis Phillips, who had a single and two RBI.

In taking down Junction City, Charleston stays in the winner's bracket of the tournament. They'll play the winner of the North Dakota and host Montrose, Colorado to at 7 p.m.