At this point a year ago, the Purvis Tornadoes had already reached double digit home runs as a team. This year, even with most of their sluggers back, they’ve struggled to hit balls out of the park, connecting on just three big flies through 10 games. For reference, Tony Farlow’s team hit three in one game early last season.
“We don’t have that energy to get us going like we did last year when we hit balls off the bat and over the fence,” he said. “It ignites everybody. It just hasn’t happened for us this year, and it may not happen.”
Regardless, the Tornadoes (7-2-1) are finding ways to win games. In fact, they ran their win streak to five games on Tuesday night in their Region 7-4A opener against FCAHS. Ironically, Hunter Robinson led off the contest with a solo homer for the Tornadoes, who cruised to a 9-1 win over the Aggies.
But citing a lack of “electricity”, Farlow says he wasn’t sold on the performance.
“We had zero [electricity]. Of course we left some guys on base early and had a chance to score some runs, and we didn’t do that.”
After a two-run first inning, which was highlighted by Robinson’s blast and a Parker Sharff sacrifice-fly, the Tornadoes came up empty offensively in the second and third, leaving four runners on base.
In the fourth inning, they broke through with a four-spot as both Hayden Williamson and Bryston West collected two-run singles. In the fifth, they added three more off the batting and base running of Dakota Lee, who drove in two runs and later scored on an FCAHS throwing error. After five complete innings, the Tornadoes were in complete control and up 9-0.
The offensive support was more than enough for Purvis starting pitcher Jesse Johnson. The junior left-hander went five-plus innings with eight strikeouts on the way to his second win of the season.
With one out in the top of the sixth and FCAHS base runners on first and third, Mason Dilmore came on in relief for Johnson. After walking the first batter he saw and striking out the second, Dilmore allowed an RBI single from Dakota Evans which plated FCAHS’ first run of the game. He answered with a strikeout to get out of the bases loaded situation relatively unscathed.
In the seventh, Dilmore set the Aggies down 1-2-3 with a strikeout, a ground out and a fly out to end the game. With it being their division opener, the Tornadoes improved to 1-0 in Region 7-4A with the win.
“We’re winning and gotta be happy with that,” Farlow said. “But we gotta be a little more team-oriented because we’re in division play now, and these are the ones that count.”
FCAHS fell to 2-6 overall and 0-1 in Region 7-4A with the loss.