Mount Airy used aggressive baserunning to score often against Bishop McGuinness in an 11-3 win.
The Bears played the Villains Wednesday, but it was the home team who kept making steals and putting runners in scoring position.
They nabbed nine bases in the first five innings, including five in a six-run third inning that blew open a close game. Logan Young, Ty Simmons, Austin Taylor and Wes Hurley all got into the action.
The Bears fell behind 1-0 in the first inning off an error. The leadoff hitter Chris Cain singled to center, and the ball scooted low, causing Taylor to miss it.
Cain wound up on third and made it home on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Gray.
Cain may be the best hitter in the conference, said Coach Jon Cawley. Twice in the game Cain came up with a runner in scoring position, and the Bears intentionally walked him.
In the bottom of the first, the Bears answered. Taylor singled up the middle. He went to third on a hit-and-run single by Sam Harris. Courtesy runner Garrett VanHoy stole second to put runners at second and third.
Wes Hurley tried to drop a squeeze bunt, but the ball was too high. Taylor was halfway home when the catcher bobbled the high throw, so Taylor dodged around the attempted tag to score.
In the second, the Villains scored again. Chris Angelino doubled to right and scored on a lined shot to left.
Choppy Cawley hung a curveball, and Jack O’Halloran took advantage for a 2-1 lead.
In the third inning, the Bears took control.
Logan Young started it off with a grounder to short. However his hustle down the line made the shortstop hurry and make a bad throw.
Young stole second, then Ty Simmons walked. Young stole third and then later Simmons stole second.
Taylor worked a full count, then walked to load the bases.
Harris worked a full count as well, then lofted a sacrifice fly to right that scored Young and moved Simmons to third.
The pitcher, who already had picked off two runners at first base, tried to get Taylor at first and on the play, Simmons stole home.
Wes Hurley hit a grounder into the hole at first. A fielder made the stop, but no one was left to cover the bag, and that left runners safe on the corners.
Hurley stole second before Cawley singled to score Taylor and move Hurley to third. Jon Cagle singled to center to score Hurley for a 5-2 lead.
A wild pitch eventually scored Cawley’s courtesy runner, then Caleb Horton beat out a grounder to second to score Cagle for a 7-2 lead.
The next inning, Cawley set down Bishop one-two-three. Horton made a great backhand stop on a shot down the third-base line. He made a hard throw to first to nab the batter.
That was one of three great plays in the infield in the first four innings. The shortstop Young chased down a bouncer up the middle and threw out the runner from behind second base. Hurley at second was in position to catch a hard bounce, but it kicked right and Hurley had to barehand the ball to get the out.
And Hurley did that with an ailing shoulder, the coach noted. Hurley had separated his shoulder last week, and it is still hurting him, Cawley said.
When the Bears added some insurance runs in the fifth, the coach decided to warm up a reliever.
Choppy Cawley pitched a scoreless sixth, then freshman Logan Holder pitched the seventh.
He actually got five outs’ worth, said the coach, but they scored one run.
Holder got a roller to Hurley that took a bad hop for a base hit. Then Holder struck out the next batter, but the ball hit the dirt, so Harris had to make the putout at first. The ball bounced off the runner’s helmet to make both players safe.
After the second intentional walk to Cain, Holder hit a batter to bring in a run. Then he got a popout to end the game.
On Friday the Bears will have their Senior Night against West Stokes.