Jake Green hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning — his first of the summer — as White Hall Relyance Bank scored six runs in the frame en route to a 10-4 win over Stuttgart 18U Tuesday night at Taylor Field.
“It was awesome,” Green said. “Definitely solid contact.”
Relyance Bank (9-4) already had a 3-0 lead when Green hit his shot over the left-field wall — squeezing between the scoreboard and the light pole.
“It feels incredible,” Green said. “It was actually my first home run of the year (including high school season).
“It was awesome.”
After a leadoff walk and a stolen base by Bailey Smith, Conner Freeman gave Relyance a 1-0 lead on an RBI double. After a walk to soon-to-be senior Kirk Baugh, both runners advanced on a double steal.
Brewer Owen gave Relyance a 2-0 lead on an infield single and a walk to Alec Hartz loaded the bases for Green.
Baugh scored on a passed ball to give Relyance a 3-0 lead and Green homered for the six-run cushion.
“That was a big home run by Jake Green,” Relyance manager Justin Holt said. “It was good to see him hit the ball like that.
“… Heading into district and state, we need everyone full-throttle. It was good to see him going.”
Green finished 1 for 2 with two walks, three RBIs and a run scored.
Stuttgart (0-5) brought in Derek Fletcher who was able to shut down Relyance for two innings before he gave up two more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
“He did good,” Stuttgart manager Vincent Stewart said. “He’s been struggling a little bit in the school season, so it was good to see him find some success.
“He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win.”
Fletcher lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Starter Jacob Hildebrand took the loss after lasting just 2/3 of an inning. He gave up six runs (all earned) on three hits with four walks and one strikeout.
Weston Wilks pitched the final 2 1/3 and allowed two runs (both earned) on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
“We laid down a little bit, because were comfortable with six,” Holt said. “But then we were able to score four runs over the fourth and fifth innings, and those were four big runs.”
For Relyance, Smith was two outs away from pitching a complete game, despite not knowing he would start until shortly prior to the game.
“I thought he pitched well,” Holt said. “He was able to work with his defense and we were able to take advantage of some of their base running mistakes and turn a couple of double plays.”
Smith allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits with six walks and four strikeouts in the win. Reece Roberts closed out the game with a groundout and a strikeout.
Both Stuttgart and Relyance had eight hits in the game, but the Ricemen left seven runners on base in the loss.
“They just got to get more consistent,” Stewart said. “If we get runners in scoring position, we got to get them in.”
Stuttgart loaded the bases in the first inning but a double play got Relyance out of the jam unharmed. In the top of the second, Stuttgart loaded the bases again but was able to plate two runs — cutting the deficit to 6-2.
“The kids had two weeks off (prior to tonight),” Stewart said. “The first game, and we just came out slow.”
Spencer Simpson led the Ricemen at the plate, finishing the night with three hits in three trips with an RBI and a walk. He also scored a run in the top of the seventh.
For Relyance, Freeman finished 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored. Baugh had a double and scored two runs. Owen was 3 for 4 with two RBIs.