When Sylva Bay Academy struggled to find the strike zone, Conner Hicks did not.
The Stringer ace notched 10 strikeouts Thursday night in a shortened four-inning affair as Stringer shutout Sylva Bay Academy 12-0 to invoke the mercy-rule.
“We needed a win,” said Stringer head baseball coach Wade Weathers. “We’ve been doing a lot of things right, and then we’ll have that one big inning where things fall apart on us, and we’re not able to overcome it. Tonight we were able to put a team away, which is something we’ve not been able to do [until tonight].”
The 10 strikeouts on the mound for Hicks – totaling 29 on the season – tied his single-game high back on March 9 vs. Union. The junior right-hand was more efficient Thursday night, recording 10 strikeouts in just 15 batters faced. Sylva Bay managed only two hits against Hicks, a one-out single by Joseph Phillips in the second inning and a leadoff single in the fourth by Denver Westbrook.
“Hicks is our ace,” said Weathers. “Anytime in four innings you get 10 of the 12 outs by strikeout, it takes a lot of relief off your defense. And that is something we need, not that we’re bad defensively its tough getting 19 or 20 outs a game that you have to make a play on. With Hicks being able to strike people out, it helped us.”
Sylva Bay, however, did not have a memorable night on the mound. The Saints saw four pitchers make the walk out to the mound Thursday night, giving up 12 runs on five hits and seven walks. In Stringer’s seven-run bottom of the third, four runs were on walks and hit-by-pitch batters with the bases loaded.
“And yes, we got what they gave us,” Weathers said when asked about the runs scored on walks. “And whenever they [SBA] loaded the bases for us, we got some clinch hits by some different guys and got out of here with the run-rule victory.”
Brennen Green led Stringer offensively, getting a hit in each of his three at-bats. Green’s two-run double capped off Stringer’s seven-run third inning.
Andrew Nix, Conner Smith, and Omarion Bridges had multiple RBI nights with two-a-piece.
Nix’s and Caleb Dyess had the other two hits for Stringer in the 12-0 win.
Stringer improves to 4-6 on the season. Sylva Bay Academy falls to 1-5.