It was a happy homecoming for Chris McCardle on Tuesday. On the heels of a narrow loss to Hattiesburg, McCardle’s Oak Grove Warriors hit the road to face Wayne County, his former team, and came back with an 11-2 win.
The Warriors (7-3) have now won four of their last five games following a two-game losing streak near the start of March. The one loss in that span came to the aforementioned Tigers, 3-2, this past Saturday.
“We had a tough loss against a really, really good Hattiesburg team. We had some chances in that game to try and score a run or two late in the game,” McCardle said. “We had some guys that we needed, but it just didn’t happen for us.”
Tuesday was different, according to McCardle and the scoreboard.
“I thought today we came out and played loose.”
It started with John Rhys Plumlee at the plate and Luke Lyon on the mound. On the first pitch of the game, Plumlee hit a double and later came around to score on a Hayes Maples sacrifice-fly. And even though Lyon allowed Wayne County runs in the first and third inning, the War Eagles could only muster one hit in his six innings of work.
“Luke did a really good job for us on the mound like he always does,” McCardle said. “Got a few runs early. Plumlee set the tone with the first bat of the game with his double. That kind of got us going.”
Tanner Slay’s RBI triple highlighted a three-run third inning for Oak Grove. Three more Warrior runs came home between the fourth and fifth. And in the seventh, the Warriors put a four spot up in cruising to the 11-2 win.
Plumlee led the way with three hits and an RBI, while Maples drove in a game-high two runs. Lyon picked up his fourth win of the season, striking out five War Eagle batters in the process.
Wayne County fell to 7-4 with the loss.
“Coach Sharp’s doing a really good job at Wayne County,” McCardle said. “They got a good team, and they’ll be hard to beat down the road in their league. So we’re just fortunate enough to come up here and get a win.”
Oak Grove will be back in action this Saturday at home against Stillwater (OK). Then, a key district series with George County awaits. Despite the Warriors’ 11-run performance against the War Eagles, McCardle wants to see more offensively from his team, especially with stiffer competition ahead.
“Against the Division I pitchers we’re about to face next week, we gotta find a way to make a little better contact with some balls,” McCardle added. “When we get an opportunity to score, we gotta make things happen.”