By Bryan Davis
Will Corbin Rogers surrendered three runs on three hits to the first five Calhoun batters he faced on Tuesday night. Two Cougars grounded out for RBIs after a run-scoring double, but that damage would be the last for Calhoun on the night. Hebron climbed back into the ball game, and the Eagles eventually won 15-3.
“When we play a complete game, we are a very good baseball team,” said Hebron head coach Derick Kirby, after the game. “We finally put together a complete ball game. We hit, everybody played defense, and we got a good performance out of Will Corbin (Rogers).”
Rogers put together his best performance of the 2011 season after the rough first inning, allowing zero runs through the next four frames. Ben Pearson capped off a six-run second inning with a two-run homerun against the district rivals.
Every win in district play is vital for the Eagles, who now stand at 4-3 in conference action.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Eagles wasted no time in responding to Calhoun’s explosion in the top of the frame. Senior leadoff batter Kevin Simmons tagged a pitch to deep right center field for a triple.
Rogers then came to the plate, and he coaxed a well-earned base-on-balls, the first of three walks the pitcher would draw on the night. Rogers then took off from first on a steal attempt, getting gunned down, but not before Simmons was able to cross the plate to make it a 3-1 game.
That was all the damage recorded by Hebron in the first, but Rogers set down the side in the second inning, striking out two in the process.
In the bottom of the second, Hebron’s bats came to life against the left-handed starter for the Cougars.
Cody Tatum led off the inning with a single, and Jacob Wooten followed suit with a hit of his own.
Two batters later, Collin Moore would reach on an error that would make it 3-2 Calhoun. Simmons came back to the plate next, and he ripped an RBI double to tie the game.
After Rogers walked again, a wild pitch set up a two-run single by David Kinard to make it 5-3 Eagles, a lead they would not relinquish.
The next batter was the catcher, Pearson, who pulled a pitched over the left field wall, into the Hebron batting cages for the homerun that made it 7-3.
“That’s his third of the year,” Kirby said of his catcher’s homer. “He’s come through for us several times this year.”
In the top of the third, Rogers got a pop out to Kinard to start things, but the second batter reached on a single. There were no worries because the next pitch was sent to Kinard, on the ground, for a six-four-three double play that ended the threat.
Hebron’s bats were not done with the Cougars. In the bottom of the inning, Tatum led off with a walk, and he was followed by Wooten’s second single of the evening.
Quez Robinson’s ground out moved the runners into scoring position, and with two outs, Simmons put the ball in play to reach on a two-run error to make it 9-3 in favor of Hebron.
Simmons would steal two bases, while Rogers earned his third walk in as many at-bats. That set up Kinard’s two-run double that made it 11-3. Unfortunately for Kinard, it was ruled that he missed first base on the hit, and he was called out to end the big inning.
Kinard more than redeemed himself on defense, however, as the team got behind Rogers’ effort on the mound.
In the bottom of the fourth, Hebron got a one-out walk from Ryan Moore, followed by another Tatum single to put runners on first and third. After a steal by Tatum, Wooten drew a walk to load the bags for Robinson.
The Eagle right fielder had made two previous outs, but he made up for it with a line drive double to the left field corner, scoring Moore and Tatum.
Robinson and Wooten were standing at second and third when Collin Moore laced a single to center to make it 15-3. Rogers would reach on his first hit of the night, later in the inning, making him 1-for-1, but the Cougars would escape without further damage.
Now it was up to Rogers to close the deal. Leading by 12, the Eagles could put it in the books if they led by 10 after the top of the fifth.
Rogers got the benefit of a bunt out to start things in the inning. The next batter gave it a full swing, but it went no further than Rogers, who threw a perfect strike to Tatum at first.
The next and final batter sent a nubber between third and short. Wooten came in from the hot corner, cut the ball off and threw to Tatum to end the game.
Hebron is back above .500 in district play, but they will have to face back-to-back conference games on the road.
On Friday, the team will travel to Kemper to take on the Rams, a team the Eagles beat by 10 earlier in the season. They will travel to Winona on April 12, and they will host Central to close things out the following Friday.