Entering Thursday, May 30, Woodward-Granger (5-0) hasn’t lost and has barely even been threatened by the score in the opening three games. The Hawks have held a lead since the second inning on the opener, but if first impressions matter, their doubleheader with Interstate 35 (2-2) was going to be a rough night.
I-35 led the evening off getting on base after a second baseman Jack Grell fumbled the leadoff grounder. If you’re a superstitious fan, that’s not a good omen. But instead of falling behind, that became a blessing as the next batter turned into an easy double play with Grell catching the fly, and forcing the out at first. W-G would take the lead in the second, holding on to end with a 3-2 win.
The second half of the twin bill plays out with a similar feeling as I-35 took a 2-1 lead over the Hawks. It was the first time in 31 innings they fell behind on the scoreboard. A three-run inning in the fifth inning changed all that. But that wasn’t all the Hawks had.
Holding a good lead with what might as been a plague of locusts flying on the field, the Hawks drove in nine runs in the top of the seventh, putting in more than a couple nails in the coffin.
What Thursday proved instead of W-G falling behind with a couple of missteps, was the Hawks have more in the tank and have been hiding another one to pack a punch at the end with more players stepping up by finding and creating opportunities.
“They’re confident. They know when to step on it,” head coach Eric Evans said.
At the top of the order both figuratively and literally was shortstop, Reese Jamison.
Entering the game, he had just one hit. He proved he still has a reliable bat Thursday. Between the two games, he went 4-for-7 with a walk, one run, one steal, and 5 RBIs. His six contributed runs alone beat I-35 for the night (Hunter Pifer’s combined five runs weren’t far behind). Even on at-bats where he didn’t get on base, his bat helped move forward, sending a couple of balls to the warning track to help move the Hawks on base, further aided by the team stealing 10 total bases.
Evans said he was confident in Jamison getting back into the groove, he just needed a little push forward. More than Jamison returning to form, Evans added he was happy to see a number of players come in and replace the starters and play multiple positions to get a feeling for the whole game.
That flexibility was due in part to the pitching situation that saw Brandon Worley get his first start of the year after a number of cancellations delayed his debut.
“That’s our number one pitcher and that was his first start of the year,” Evans said. “So we still got four guys who haven’t thrown anything.”
For his first start, he took in 103 pitches on six innings without an earned run. Worley also fanned seven batters without a walk, living up to his ace reputation.
Easter Caden grabbed the other start of the night, striking out eight batters in 4 2/3 innings but walked four and allowed two runs before four others from the bullpen took the mound.
“Our pitchers got first-pitch strikes almost every batter. I don’t think we walked but maybe three guys in a doubleheader,” Evans said. “If our pitching doesn’t show up, we’re in trouble. We just got some dudes and just compete.”
The Hawks next travel to Osceola to take on Clarke on Friday, May 31.