The Winston-Salem Post 55 Junior Legion baseball team didn’t use one big inning to pick up an 11-0 win against Wilkes County Post 31 on Tuesday night in Moravian Falls.
Instead, the Spartans generated small portions of runs over the seven-inning contest and benefited from strong pitching.
Jimmy Hylton turned in a complete-game performance, allowing just two hits and striking out six.
“Their kid didn’t do anything spectacular, he just threw strikes and had control of his pitches and we undoubtedly didn’t have control of our bats,” Post 31 Head Coach Terry Johnson said. “It just shows preparation-wise, I don’t think that we were very prepared today.”
Winston-Salem (7-5) quickly gave Hylton a lead in the first with three runs, including an RBI single from Chris Moutos.
Moutos, one of three Spartans with multiple hits, went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
The Patriots didn’t get their first hit of the game until Ezra Baker’s single to lead off the fourth inning.
Baker wasn’t on the bases long as Owen Wooten, Post 55’s catcher, threw him out attempting to steal second base.
With his team dropping to 2-6 on the season, Johnson has noticed some things that he hopes can be quickly corrected.
“We talk all the time about the next play and I think the biggest thing that I’m seeing with this younger bunch is that, I don’t think that we’re thinking ahead,” said Johnson. “We talked about it after the game tonight about what you’re going to do with the next ball. We tend to think about that out and not the next one or that there’s another runner on base. Hopefully talking about it and reminding them of it will fix some of those problems.”
Tristin Willard, who went 3-for-4, put the Spartans in front 8-0 with an RBI single in the fourth chasing Post 31 starting pitcher Tanner Sheets from the game after just 3 ¹⁄³ innings on the mound.
Ethan Adams relieved Sheets and fared relatively better, allowing just a hit and a run in two innings of work.
The rising freshman at Wilkes Central ran into some trouble with one out in the sixth after hitting Trevor Parris to load the bases.
But the Patriots got out of the inning without any further damage thanks to a fly out to right fielder Andrew Elmore. The rising junior at East Wilkes then threw out Jack Thomas at home attempting to tag up on the play.
“We had a couple of really nice plays today. The throw that Elmore made after making the catch to get the runner at home plate was awesome because he’s thinking ahead, he knows what he’s going to do once he catches it,” said Johnson. “Lance (Parker) made some good plays at third, made a couple of good plays in the outfield but we’re just not putting enough good plays at one time, that’s been our pet peeve the last three of four games.”
Alec Baldwin gave Post 31 its best chance to score in the bottom of the sixth following a single to load the bases. All three runners would be left stranded as Hylton forced Grant Strader to fly out to right field.
The Patriots are off the rest of this week but return to the diamond on Monday when they travel to Mooresville and return home next Wednesday to play the Kernersville Seals.
Johnson is hoping that the break will help his players refocus and finish the season on a positive note.
“We decided to let them have a little time to relax and enjoy themselves for a little while and hopefully re-energize them and get them back into the game,” said Johnson. “Any maybe when we come back on Monday, the kids will be a little more rested and focused.”