The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 20, 2012

Four-run first carries Willard past Joplin 4-1

Joplin sophomore Tristan Ash was sterling on the mound after a rocky first inning against visiting Willard.

But that four-run inning, thanks to junior left-hander Austin Reaves, was more than enough for the Tigers on a chilly Friday.

Reaves, improving to 5-0, scattered five hits, struck out 12 and walked just one to subdue the Eagles 4-1.

The right-handed Ash finished with a four-hitter and permitted only one hit after the decisive first inning.

The nonconference loss spoiled the debut for the varsity Eagles on their diamond at South Middle School.

Willard, from the Large Division of the Central Ozark Conference, hiked its record to 11-7. Ozark Conference member Joplin slipped to 7-9.

Joplin coach Kirk Harryman, pleased with Ash and the defense which included two infield double plays, wasn’t complimentary toward the offense.

“Reaves was very good today,” Harryman said.

“But, offensively, we have to continue to work on situational hitting and hitting with two strikes to give ourselves a chance to score,” Harryman said. “We didn’t hit the ball well.”

Tyler Hampton roped a bad-hop single to open the Willard first inning.

Trevor Bowling walked and Ryan Stewart delivered a one-out single to load the bases. Austin Pippin was plunked by a pitch to force home courtesy runner Keaton Presley before Michael Pfeifer pulled a two-run double to left center. Cole Teaford then scored Pippin with a sacrifice fly.

Joplin scored in the fourth inning on a leadoff double by Dayton Whitehead and a two-out single by Nathan Brummer.

The Eagles also had singles from Chris Leonardi, Bryce Ash and Tyler Russell.

Willard coach Scott McGee said that Reaves hadn’t pitched varsity until this season. His previous wins were against Carthage, McDonald County, Glendale and Jefferson City.

“He’s pitched well each time out,” McGee said. “He really has developed.”

Harryman said that junior right-hander Adam St. Peter is the probable starting pitcher against Waynesville on Sunday at Hammons Field in Springfield.

The Ozark Conference game will follow the 2 p.m. Texas League contest between the Cardinals and Tulsa Drillers.

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