At first, Cleveland A’s coach Billy Massingale thought he might have made a mistake when he scheduled Nashville’s Hermitage Pirates for a Saturday baseball game at the old Charleston High School baseball field.
But, his fears were unfounded as the A’s pulled off a win over the visitors.
“When I scheduled this game I thought I might have bitten off more than we could chew, but in the back of my mind I was confident that we had the local talent to hang with this caliber of team. I was proven correct as we came away with a 6-4 victory,” said Massingale.
“Good pitching is almost always the key to any win and Former Bradley player Tanner Thompson started on the bump for us. He went six solid innings, striking out seven and earning the win.”
After a lead-off strikeout, the Pirates made some noise with a triple and a run-scoring single, but former Walker Valley workhorse Dalton Montgomery threw a strike to gun down a Pirate trying to steal second. Another strikeout by Thompson ended the inning.
In the third and sixth innings, the Pirates threatened but the A’s defense stepped up. In the third, Former Bradley star Tyler Cross snagged a line drive then stepped on the bag for an unassisted double play. In the sixth, another pair of Walker Valley standouts turned a double play in the middle with Shortstop Adam Hunsucker flipping to Tyler Hogan.
Steve Currie, fresh out of Georgia Southern, came in for the last three innings to get the save.
“When he got into trouble he took care of it himself, striking out five and picking off three runners. As a lefty, he has a sick move to first that continues to prove to be very effective,” said the A’s coach.
Offensively, the A’s scored three in the second and never lost the lead. Former Cleveland State star Brad Weir doubled and was driven home on a hard single by Hunsucker. After walks for Thompson, Josh Spurlock and Kody Hensley, Dalton Montgomery singled to score two more. The A’s added single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth to ensure the victory.
“We had some timely hits by Josh Mccoy and Tyler Cross. Also, we played good, fundamental baseball — getting bunts down when needed, moving runners over, as well as hitting behind the runners,” said Massingale.
“Overall it was just a great win. With the talent that comes out of Bradley County alone we now know we can compete with talent statewide. It is a great confidence boost to get this win and we will ride this momentum as long as we can.”
The Cleveland A's were back in home action Sunday with a doubleheader against the Marlins from Hixson. It was a perfect day for baseball and the hometown A's didn't disappoint the fans who showed up to see some baseball.
Game one was an 8-4 win for the A's anchored by strong pitching from Adam Hunsucker and Robby Mcintire. Hunsucker went five innings, getting the win. Hunsucker was new to the mound and looked a little shaky in the first giving up a few hits, but quickly learned to trust his defense. Mcintire earned the save, holding the Marlins scoreless in the last two innings while striking out five of the six batters he faced.
On the offensive side, four players had two hits: Tyler Hogan, Brad Weir, Josh Spurlock and Tyler Cross. Thanks to some timely hits the A’s pushed across eight hits. Hitting was solid up and down the lineup, with everyone in the batting order getting at least one safety. Mcintire added a two run homer in the fifth.
The A’s are hitting solid already this early in the season, which is an improvement from this time last year.
The same formula was used in game two, consisting of good pitching and all around good hitting. This all led to a 5-2 victory.
Tyler Cross started and looked strong out of the gate. In his first start of the year Cross struck out eight of the 17 batters he faced. Tyler Hogan replaced him, shutting down the Marlins for two innings before Billy Massingale came in and got three quick outs in the last inning for the save.
B.J. Hogan led the offensive charge with two hits and two RBIs. Adam Hunsucker was 1-for-3 as well with two RBIs and Brad Weir got the fifth RBI with a solid single to center.
A few scoring chances were missed in game two, but the game still resulted in a win.
On June 1 the A’s look to continue their success as they face the Nationals team out of Chattanooga. Game time is slated for Saturday at noon on the Charleston field.
The A’s are currently in first place with a record of 4-0 in league play and 5-0 overall.