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All along, the Chiefland High baseball team had a handle on visiting Fort White last Thursday night, March 13.
But when starting pitcher Jeremy Hayes got a bit wild and the visitors chiseled the lead down to two runs, coach Kyle Parnell had to go to his ace in the hole –Ory Pitts.
Pitts pitched four innings of hitless relief and the Indians went on to post a 13-3 victory over Fort White.
Chiefland improved to 8-1 overall and 6-0 in district play. Fort White fell to 5-4 and 3-3.
Friday's game against Branford was rained out and won?t be made up. The Indians played Newberry on Tuesday and have a big district tussle at Williston Thursday night. Chiefland is back home Friday night against Bronson.
Going back to last Thursday, Chiefland built up a 5-1 lead after two innings, but starter Hayes was lifted after a shaky start in the top of the third. A walk, error and single helped Fort White draw to 5-3.
Parnell went to Pitts, who got a fly out, strikeout and groundout.
Pitts was flawless in three more innings, striking out four and walking none. He was credited with the win, improving his record to a spotless 5-0.
"Jeremy didn't have his control,"Parnell said. "When it got close, we went to Ory. He was well rested."
With lots of recent rainouts, Pitts has indeed been rarin'to go. He most previous outing before last Thursday was back on Wednesday, March 5.
Offensively, Chiefland busted the game open with a five-run third, making it 10-3.
With one out, Dan Galpin walked. Josh Wasson bounced back to the pitcher, who threw the ball away trying to get the force at second. Mike Perkins fouled out, but Kory Hanchar delivered an RBI double to left-center. Wasson came across on a wild pitch to make it 7-3.
The Indians weren't done.
Brent Slaughter greeted a relief pitcher with an infield single plating Hanchar. Pitts singled and Slaughter scored when the throw from centerfield skipped into the Chiefland dugout. Pitts came across on an error on Kyle Shivers grounder to third.
Sloppy baserunning cost Chiefland a chance to tack on more runs in the fourth. The Indians had the bases loaded with no outs, but the runners on the corners were caught napping, resulting i a double play.
Chiefland score two more runs in the fifth without the benefit of a hit. An error, walk and two wild pitches did the damage.
The Indians finally 10-runned Fort White in the bottom of the sixth. Wasson worked a walk, Perkins singled and Burton plated the 13th run with a single to right.