Cavaliers off to fast start

Published 11:30 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Callaway Cavaliers shrugged off a late-game, two-run deficit to beat the visiting Heritage School Hawks 6-3 on a chilly Wednesday evening.

The Cavaliers were trailing 3-1 when they pushed five runs across in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead.

Jabari Smith threw a scoreless top of the seventh to finish it as Callaway improved to 2-0 on the young season.

Destin Patrick gave the Cavaliers the lead with a clutch, two-run single in the sixth inning.

“He did that for us all last year,” said Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard, who led the team to the Class AA state semifinals last year. “Coming off the bench, he just gives us good at-bats. His temperament is really good for it. He doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low. There’s no doubt that was the hit of the game.”

The Cavaliers had a 1-0 lead after scoring a run in the second inning.

Walt Stewart, Callaway’s starting pitcher, reached on a one-out single, and Smith came in as his courtesy runner.

After Austin Cardwell reached on an error and Bryce Kurian was hit by a pitch, Smith scored on a double steal.

Heritage took the lead with a three-run home run in the fourth inning, and Callaway answered with five runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Zach Neighbors and Brooks Bledsoe got the rally started with back-to-back walks.

Smith then put a bunt down, and when the throw to first went awry, Neighbors scored to get the Cavaliers within one.

Cardwell was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Hubbard called upon Patrick to pinch-hit.

The senior fouled off some tough pitches before driving the ball into right field for the base hit, and Callaway led 4-3.

Drake Wade, Callaway’s outstanding leadoff hitter, reached on a bunt single, and he made it all the way to third on an error, and Patrick scored on the play to push the lead to 5-3.

Wade scored on a wild pitch to cap the scoring, giving the Cavaliers a three-run cushion.

Smith threw a perfect top of the seventh, and Callaway had the come-from-behind win.

“The big thing is, (coming from behind) builds some momentum, builds some character,” Hubbard said. “It gives guys belief.”

Wade had two hits from the top of the order, and Cardwell, Patrick and Stewart each had hits. Stewart got the start on the mound, and he didn’t allow a run in three innings.

“He made the pitches when he needed to,” Hubbard said. “I felt like he was getting stronger, but I really don’t want anybody to go above 60 at this point.”

Austin Barber pitched the fourth inning and allowed three runs, but that wasn’t a concern for Hubbard.

“Barber struggled tonight, but we’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” Hubbard said. “He did a good job last year for us.”

Smith finished things off with three lock-down innings.

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