Irby, EHS Bulldogs power way to win
TANGLED TEAMMATES Enterprise first baseman Dennis Watson, left, and Justin Lee make contact on a pop up in the middle of the field during the Bulldogs' contest with Taylorsville on Monday. Watson made the catch as Enterprise went on to win 10-2 to advance to the next round of the MHSAA playoffs. PHOTO BY KYLE CARTER / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
April 27, 2004
ENTERPRISE Lance Irby treated the first two innings like a personal home-run derby and the rest of the Enterprise baseball team followed suit in the final game of the Class 2A opening-round tournament on Monday.
Irby hit a solo and a three-run homer in his first two at bats as the Bulldogs launched five home runs in the game to take a 10-2 win over the Taylorsville Tartars (16-14) at home.
"We really haven't been that much of a power team all year," said Enterprise head baseball coach Jeremy Wilkins, whose team improved to 21-6 and advanced to the second round of the 2A playoffs. "We've been a bunch of gap-to-gap doubles all year. It was just as surprising to me as I think it was for the kids and Taylorsville for us to hit five home runs like that."
Irby gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, sending a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall in his first at bat.
The shortstop struck again in the top of the second, knocking a three-run homer over the left-center field wall to give Enterprise a 4-0 advantage.
"I was seeing the ball real good," said Irby, who also hit a double in the win. "It felt real good. This was the best we hit as a team all year, and we are just getting started."
Enterprise third baseman Zeb Swain followed Irby's second homer of the game with a solo shot over the left field wall to make it 5-0.
The Bulldogs tacked another run to its lead in the top of third in a more conventional manner. Designated hitter Chance Kidd drove in Baron Blackwell, who pinch ran for pitcher Adam Simpson, with a single up the middle for a 6-0 advantage.
"It was important to get ahead of them early," Wilkins said. "We put the pressure on them to come back."
Taylorsville posted its only runs of the game in the bottom of the third inning off a two-run home run over the left-center field wall by Adam Evans. The homer was one of only five hits the Bulldogs gave up to the Tartars in the game.
After being held scoreless in the fourth inning, Enterprise found its home-run swing again in the top of the fifth as catcher Anthony Rawson led off the inning with a solo homer for a 7-2 lead.
Bulldogs first baseman Dennis Watson smacked a two-run home run three batters after Rawson for Enterprise's last round-trip blast of the game and a 9-2 lead.
Rawson, who went 2-4 with two RBIs, drove in the Bulldogs' final run in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI double to score Swain, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
"We pretty much did what we had to do we hit throughout the tournament," said Wilkins, whose team recorded 11 hits in the game. "We've done a good job the whole tournament with somebody stepping up and getting the hit to drive in a run."
Simpson recorded the win for Enterprise, giving up two runs on four hits with five strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Blackwell closed the game, giving up one hit and striking out one in 1.2 innings.
"Simpson did a great job for us pitching," Wilkins said. "He threw for us against St. Andrews on Friday night, pitching five good innings. He actually pitched better (Monday) than he did on Friday. Hopefully, he has gotten some confidence, and he will continue to pitch well going into the second round."
The Bulldogs will meet the winner of the game between Philadelphia and Mercy Cross in the second round of the 2A playoffs. Enterprise will host the first game of the second-round matchup if Philadelphia won, or it will be on the road if Mercy Cross won.