By Jeffery Armstrong
The Morrow Mustangs baseball team jumped out to an 8-0 lead and held serve from there, defeating the Riverdale Raiders 11-6 Friday night at Riverdale.
The Mustangs improve to 2-0 on the young season with the non-region win. Riverdale falls to 0-1.
Morrow senior pitcher Chris Williams threw a complete-game 10-hitter with nine strikeouts and no walks. Williams also hit well against Riverdale, going 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and two runs scored.
Morrow right fielder Devin Scott's two-run home run, his second at-bat of the inning, capped the 8-0 start in the first inning. Scott's blast over the left-field wall turned out to be the difference in the game.
"When I was up to bat the second time in the first inning, I was just thinking about getting a base hit," said Scott, a sophomore. "I didn't realize it was a home run until the runner in front of me slowed down."
The win spoiled a good offensive game from Riverdale starting pitcher Arnold Oakman, who went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, one of which was an inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning.
Oakman's shaky first inning did him in, however. Oakman pitched five innings, giving up 10 runs (eight earned) on nine hits, striking out four and walking six. He settled down after the first, only allowing two more runs in his last four innings.
Riverdale had a chance to climb back in the game in the fourth inning. Oakman hit his drive deep to the wall in right field for his home run, making the score 10-2. Then first baseman Rafael Rojas and third baseman Trey Hooks both singled with none out. Williams struck out Riverdale's Alex Johnson and Morrow catcher Kenny McCain caught Rojas stealing third for two quick outs. Mashaun Montgomery then popped out to first to end the Riverdale threat.
Williams, who was throwing hard all night, was able to settle down until the last two innings when his defense failed him. Morrow committed four of its seven errors in the sixth and seventh innings, which helped Riverdale add four more runs.
"I felt good at the beginning of the game since we had a big lead. All I had to do was hold it down," said Williams, a senior. "I was getting tired towards the end of the game."
Both Riverdale and Morrow are led by first-year coaches Reggie Stancil at Morrow and Brian Paige at Riverdale.
Stancil, who graduated last August from Jacksonville State University, said he is looking to do things differently at Morrow.
"We're trying to change the attitude here at Morrow. We've got guys who want to win every game," Stancil said. "We're going to be a well-disciplined, running team."
Paige said there were a bit too many "firsts" Friday night, but he feels things will get better for Riverdale.
"We've got North Clayton here Monday night and by then, I think we'll have worked the bugs out," Paige said.