By GREG MENGELT
Silver Creek baseball coach Joe Decker knows that not all victories come between the foul poles.
Decker’s wife, Stephanie, has overcome the loss of her legs in last March’s tornadoes to once again walk.
“It’s kind of changed the way I look at baseball,” Decker said after his Dragons defeated Henryville 10-1 Wednesday evening. “We preach to our kids that family comes first, and that’s No. 1 above baseball. That has become more true with everything that’s happened this last year. This whole baseball family has really come together. I want them to understand it‘s just a baseball game in the big picture of things.”
Wednesday’s season-opening victory was what you might call a “family” effort.
Centerfielder Layne Taylor led the game off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on Lucas Barnett’s groundout to the right side, and scored on a passed ball.
Henryville began the bottom half of the inning in similar fashion. Tyler Pace walked and stole second before coming in on an RBI single by Dakota Harrell.
That’s where the similarities between the two teams ended.
The Hornets would score no more, but the Dragons were just heating up.
Silver Creek added one run in the second, as Brandon Wares tagged up from third on Zac Spaulding’s sacrifice fly.
In the third the Dragons went on a tear, plating five runs. After singling just over the head of Henryville first-baseman Bailey Hall, Barnett moved to second on Jamie Valvano’s walk, and to third on a wild pitch. Shae Durham poked one through the hole on the left side to score Bennett. Another wild pitch scored Valvano. Brooks Howell walked before Cody McAfee doubled down the line to score Durham. Howell scored on a passed ball, and McAfee followed him in when the throw to the pitcher covering was offline.
Durham added another run in the fifth.
Silver Creek added two more runs in the top of the seventh to stretch the lead to nine.