Taking the field in 106-degree heat, the Cleveland A’s were looking at a long, hot day of baseball, but the A's beat the heat and pulled out a 3-1 win over the North Georgia Braves.
The Braves got on the board first in the third inning with a lead-off double followed by a two-out single. The run proved to be the Braves’ only score though they threatened several times in the later innings.
“We took them out of a few scoring chances with some great throws from our outfield to throw out runners at third and second. That was key,” said A’s coach Billy Massingale. “Not making those kind of plays have costs us some games but today we played flawless defense. I'm loving the win, but I'm more impressed that we didn't make any errors this game. That is the kind of baseball this team is capable of playing. We started out a little sluggish at the plate and in this heat who can lay blame?”
The A’s tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Dalton Montgomery got hit by a pitch with two outs and Kody Hensley followed with a single. Massingale followed with a single to get the A's on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hensley led off by scampering to first on a missed third strike. Massingale followed with his second hit of the day and Josh Hindman loaded the bases on a catcher interference call. Matt Ghirst knocked in one with a single and Ryan Linden plated the third run on a fielder’s choice.
Three runs were all the A’s needed. Landon Gray got the win, pitching strong in giving up only one run on three hits. Gray tacked on to his league-leading strikeout total with six. Linden came in to secure the save allowing only one hit while striking out two.
“It was a great team win and we hope to take this momentum into next week’s games when we play a doubleheader at Hixson High School,” said Massingale.