The Flames improved to 4-0 and will face much tougher competition on Friday and Saturday in the Tennessee Valley Invitational. On Friday, Lee will test Bluefield College at 3 p.m. and then turn around at 6 p.m. and challenge Georgetown College. On Saturday, the Flames will be pitted against Madonna University at 2 p.m. and wrap up tourney play against the University of Rio Grande at 5 p.m.
“We will have to bring some energy and focus this weekend as our schedule picks up with two ranked teams in Madonna and Georgetown,” pointed out coach Mark Brew. “The weather should be great and the competition should be excellent all weekend.”
Keegan Yuhl started and worked two innings in gaining the pitching decision. He allowed one hit and struck out one. Lefty David Eskew followed with two innings of one-hit ball. He fanned two and walked two. Next came Jeremy Bales for one inning and Ryan Zimmerman came on in the sixth.
Lee closer Andy Hillis came on and blew past the Crusaders in the seventh, ending the run-rule event. Hillis, who was clocked at between 91-94 mph, fanned all three hitters he faced. Temple used three hurlers and Patrick Lycans was charged with the defeat.
The Flames put the contest out of reach by scoring a pair of runs in the opening frame and then posting five scores in the second. Four more tallies followed in the fourth and two Lee runs were tallied in the sixth.
Brandon Rader and Chris Avey stroked two hits and scored two runs to set the pace for the Flames. Danny Canela ripped a three-run homer over the right-field wall in the second inning. He also scored twice. Canela improved his average to .538 (7-for-13). He has scored four runs, stroked two doubles and knocked in nine runs in Lee’s four wins.
Josh Silver had one hit and scored twice. Roberto Duran, Corey Davis, Jordan Stewart, Karsten Strieby, Mike Fasolo, Mark Silva and Blake Ray also hit safely. Fasolo contributed a pair of RBIs, while Davis, Cameron Brewster and Strieby each drove home a run.
“I thought we did an excellent job again today defensively and on the mound,” said coach Brew. “At the plate, we had several quality at bats and I thought our guys did a good job staying focused throughout the entire game.”