The Athens Hornets took advantage of their first home game after a 14-game road trip to open the 2021 baseball season.
With a combined seven runs scored in the fourth inning, the Hornets won 6-1 over the Central Pollok Bulldogs Tuesday at Hornet Field.
Athens is now 4-10-1 on the season. They return to action Friday at home against the Hudson Hornets at 7 p.m.
“I think the biggest thing that are learning as a group is mistakes are going to happen,” Athens coach Aaron Carroll said. “We are getting in the cages and swinging the bat and trying to avoid the strikeouts. We will be working on getting on top of the baseball. We can’t let adversity get to us and have it snowball into something larger. They are a strong baseball program that will come in here and be ready to play.”
The contest was the first of a three-game homestand for the Hornets, which Carroll said is good for his team.
“I love getting back home and I think our fans love us being here,” Carroll said. “The kids were fired up about wearing our pinstripes because this is the first time we were able to wear them. We love coming out here and playing here and I am looking forward to it.”
The lone run for Central came in the top of the fourth inning and two outs as courtesy runner Hayden Bounds scored on an error by the left fielder.
“Joseph (Garcia) had a line drive hit right in front of him, and he is aggressive,” Carroll said. “We teach aggression in every form that we had in this ballgame, and he dove and didn’t come up with it this time. We also have a center fielder in Caleb Bennett who is flying in behind him. He has incredible speed and cut it off to a double instead of turning it into three or even an extra run.”
Athens then countered with six runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning.
“At that point, we started getting on top of the baseball,” Carroll said. “Early in the game, we hit a lot of pop ups and those are easy plays to make for anybody at this level. We were hitting some hard ground balls and some ropes to the outfield and when we worked some walks and hit by pitches as well.”
With one out, Caleb Bomer reached on an error by the shortstop scoring Reed Allen to tie the game at 1-1. With the bases loaded, Cooper Tanner then gave the Hornets the lead as he was hit by a pitch, which scored Bomer.
Trevor Duepree then reached on a bases loaded walk scoring Chase Greene for the 3-1 lead. Juan Garcia then reached on an error, which scored Tanner and Daniel Stanley.
The final run came on an Allen walk, scoring Deupree for the 6-1 finale.
“I am very pleased with the effort and the execution tonight,” Carroll said. “I want us to compete hard. We have a great group of athletes that love playing together and being around each other. The team chemistry is amazing and probably my favorite thing about this whole program right now. As long as we are playing hard, I am pleased and good things will happen.”
Athens recorded only three hits as Stanley, Allen and Hunter White recorded singles. Tanner, Deupree and Allen had an RBI, while the team recorded nine walks.
Junior Garcia picked up the victory with a complete game three-hitter. He gave up one run with seven strikeouts and one walk.