Relyance Bank walks over PRO-DAY

Relyance Bank coaxed 10 walks, including nine in the key third and fourth frames, to earn an 11-3 win over PRO-DAY Elite Saturday night at Taylor Field.

“The first couple of games here you could tell we hadn’t played in a while,” said Relyance Bank coach Skip Carr. “The first game (Saturday) we scored runs and put the ball in play.

“We didn’t chase a lot of bad pitches.”

Relyance took advantage of some wildness by PRO-Day pitching to plate its most runs of the tournament. The White Hall-based team also showed its speed on the bases forcing several mistakes by the PRO-DAY defense.

“We’ve got a lot of team speed,” Carr said. “There’s always the chance you’ll get thrown out, but taking chances worked for us (Saturday).”

Relyance took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning partly due to the speed of Bailey Smith and Kirk Baugh.

PRO-DAY countered with three runs in the top of the second off Relyance starter Layne Hartsfield. With two outs, Hartsfield gave up three straight hits, the last of which to Hunter McDade scored the go-ahead runs.

Hartsfield, a soon-to-be freshman at White Hall, settled down to keep PRO-DAY off the board over his final three innings of work.

“He’s a very good pitcher,” Carr said. “He keeps the ball down and hits his spots. …

“The second inning he started missing his spots and they put some good swings on it, but he settled down and played well.”

Hartsfield finished with five walks and five hits in his five innings, but was able to wiggle out of trouble in every frame but the second.

“My team helped me, of course,” Hartsfield said. “They played good defense. Made some errors, but everybody makes errors, so it wasn’t a big deal.

“That one inning they were hitting the ball well, and you have to give them credit for that.”

PRO-DAY’s lead was short-lived as Relyance pushed across five runs in the bottom of the third thanks to six walks. Smith, Baugh, Hartsfield, Justin Archer and Cade Canada all walked and eventually came around to score.

Relyance essentially put the game out of reach with a four-run fourth inning. Again walks helped set the table but the big play of the frame was an opposite-field double by Canada that plated two.

The result means Relyance and PRO-DAY both finished 1-3 in the round-robin portion of the tourney. The two squads will face each other again in the tournament’s consolation game at noon Sunday.

With the game serving as the last summer baseball contest for Relyance, Carr hopes to end a successful few months on a positive note.

“I just want them to come out and play hard,” he said. “This has been a good, long summer. These guys all get along, which makes it a lot easier. They play well together.

“I’ll be happy (Sunday), as long as they are getting better.”

After his last pitching outing of the summer, Hartsfield is hoping his team will end the summer on a winning streak.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said, “because everyone wants a good outing, of course.

“If we show up (Sunday), and play how we played (Saturday), we won’t have a sour taste in our mouth.”