Elmer Smith Grainger Today Correspondent RUTLEDGE –Inan important District 2-AA baseball game played last Monday night at the Grizzly field, the Grainger Grizzlies got no-hit pitching from Justin Sales and an offensive out-burst from the remainder of the team in posting a blow-out 14-0 victory over the visiting West Greene Buffaloes. After a three-up, three-down top of the first inning by Sales, the Grizzlies put two runs on the board on singles by Brock Davidson and Hunter Sykes, who also stole a base, as both scored on an error to post a 2-0 lead after the first inning. Although Sales walked a batter in the top of the second inning and the Grizzlies committed an error, Sales kept the Buffaloes off the board to maintain Grainger’s early lead. In the bottom of the second inning, the Grizzlies used a triple from Davidson, a hit batter from Sykes, a walk toTanner Collins, a West Greene error and a walk to Landon Holt to put three additional runs on the board and take a 5-0 lead into the top of the third inning. A second Grainger error was of no consequence as Sales easily retired the next three West Greene batters. In the home half of the third inning, leadoff batter Bryson Collins reached on an error. That was followed by a double from Davidson and a triple from Sykes for two runs. Another Buffalo error added another run before a double by Nick Conley, a single by Holt, a third error and a single by Sales pushed the Grainger lead to 14-0 heading into the fourth inning.Another perfect inning by Sales sent the game to the bottom of the fourth where Clint Bolin single was followed by a walk to Sykes. That was followed by singles from Tanner Collins, Nick Conley and Holt to push across three additional runs as the Grainger lead ballooned to 14-0 heading into the top of the fifth inning. In that inning, Sales, who had retired six Buffalo batters in a row, set West Greene down in order to end the game by retiring the final nine batters he faced to preserve the no hitter and push the Grizzlies overall record to 11-10 and 4-3 in District 2-AA play. “Everything was working well, especially my fastball,” said senior hurler Justin Sales of his pitching gem. I wasn’t aware that I had a no-hitter going until the fourth inning. My guys had my back on defense, and we put 14 runs on the board that made it easier to pitch.”“We played well,” said Grainger head coach, Jake Stiles. “We executed well and got a great game from Sales. When he pitches, his pitch count is low. He gets ground balls, and today he was just a little better. He has continued to improve throughout the season, and this no hitter is kind of a pinnacle. We got timely hitting and made them make plays on us. We’ve got guys with speed, and we utilize all the tools we have to win a baseball game. When we’re executing and taking advantage of our speed, we’re winning games. I’m proud of what we’re doing. We’re in the drivers seat for second which puts us in good position for the tournament. We need to just keep winning, and we’ll be right where we want to be.”
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