A new season and new uniforms revealed only familiar results for the Silver Creek baseball team.
Three different pitchers combined for a four-hitter on Wednesday night, helping the host Dragons to a 7-1 win over visiting Henryville in their season debut. It was the fifth straight win for Silver Creek in its series with the Hornets.
Class 3A No. 3 Silver Creek broke in its new uniforms — white with blue stripes reminiscent of the retro duds of the Houston Astros — with three solid innings of work from senior Graham Jones, who picked up the win. He gave way to sophomore Logan Murphy, who didn’t give up a hit, for two innings and junior Cameron Cook, who closed the door on the Hornets with two innings of one-hit ball.
“We threw eight guys on Monday [in a scrimmage against Bedford], so our biggest question is who is our No. 1 guy, our No. 2 guy,” Silver Creek coach Joe Decker said. “So we wanted to give a few guys some work.”
Meanwhile, the Dragon offense collected just four hits of it own but managed to generate a steady stream of runs with patience at the plate, getting all three of its runs in the fourth inning by drawing walks from Henryville pitchers.
The Dragons struck first in the second inning, when Cook reached on an error, stole second and then moved to third on a pop fly off the bat of Brooks Howell. Cook scampered home on a grounder by Brahm Whittinghill for the first run of the season. Zac Spaulding then drove home pinch runner Nick Paynter, who came in for Jones after the pitcher drew a walk, with a deep double to left field.
Hornet starter Austin Bowles hung in until the fourth inning, when he walked Howell, watched Murphy reach on an error and then couldn’t get to a well-laid bunt by Whittinghill that loaded the bases with no outs. Spaulding then drew a walk to plate a run, as did Drew Sherrow, which made it 5-1 and ended Bowles’ evening.
“We’ve got a lot of inexperienced guys,” Henryville coach Jared Hill said. “Some guys haven’t played since Little League and we’re starting five guys who are sophomores or younger. So that definitely showed a little.”
That brought on senior Jimmie Small, who walked home another run before ending the Dragon rally. He kept Silver Creek off the board in the fifth, although a costly error in right field did allow Spaulding, who reached on a walk, to add another run in the bottom of the sixth. Still, Small issued just two walks and gave up just two hits — singles from Shae Durham and Brayden Ware — in his three innings of work.
Henryville (1-1) managed its lone run in the top of the third, when Bowles reached on a single and Derek Hall drew a walk. A single from Dylan Cissell loaded the bases for sophomore Seth Casey, who drew a walk off Jones to plate the run.
From there, the Hornets got just one more hit on a single from Hall in the seventh. Murphy struck out four Hornets in his brief appearance, while Cook struck out the side in order in the sixth and recorded four strike outs of his own.
Both teams seemed to suffer from some early-season nerves, although Henryville had already made its season debut. The teams combined for five errors, many coming on seemingly routine plays.
“I think there were some opening-game jitters and we came out pretty tight,” Decker said. “You know, we’ll have to hit the ball better. We had some situations where we have runners in scoring position and we hit the ball into the air. We have to put it on the ground or hit it hard there and not right to somebody.
Overall, we’re counting on our pitching and our defense this year and we think we did that pretty well tonight,”
For Henryville, it was a valuable experience against one of the state’s top Class 3A squads.
“We were outmatched,” Hill said. “They’re a very good team and they are just further along than we are. But we’re making improvements and everything we saw tonight, we think we can fix by the end of the year.”
SILVER CREEK 7, HENRYVILLE 1
Henryville 001 000 0—1 4 3
Silver Creek 021 301 x—7 4 2
WP — Jones (1-0). LP — Bowles (0-1). 2B — Spaulding (S).
Records — Silver Creek 1-0, Henryville 1-1.