When it comes to getting ready for an early-morning game, the Easley Baseball Club 10u team may need to adopt more aggressive wake-up options and bring in roosters, alarm clocks and Marine barracks sergeants.
But the squad from just outside Memphis, TN., didn't need to be told twice about the need for focus, as Easley won its second game Thursday during the start of pool play at the SlumpBuster, rumbling past the DBI Blue Sox, 23-8, at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex. Easley had come up short in Game 1, falling to the Rio Grande Valley Recon (TX), 8-3.
Easley jumped ahead by a 5-0 margin over the Blue Sox after one inning, but a cluster of walks and two hit batters gave DBI life along with a 7-5 lead. Easley used five hits and four walks to fuel their own outburst in the second inning and also post seven runs.
That was just an appetizer for the third inning, when Easley brought across 11 runs to finish the game off via the run rule. Everyone was able to head to lunch in good spirits; the team has aspirations for a run through the bracket and would have been in stressful territory with a 0-2 record.
"We just decided we wanted to win (Game 2), and we competed and played harder than we did the first game," said Landon Smith, who had three hits, scored three runs and stole three bases in the victory. "The early (start time) was maybe part of the problem. I breathe easy and say to myself, 'I'm going to get a hit' when I'm batting."
It sounds funny to point at a pitching performance when breaking down a 15-run victory, but Easley definitely got a lift fro Gavin Odom, who came in relief in the second inning and got two big outs. He was very effective in the third inning as well, getting a grounder back to the mound and a strikeout to keep DBI at bay.
"I tell myself, don't think when you're pitching ... just let go of the ball and throw it," Odom said. "I actually felt good after the first game because I had two hits, and the out I had was a line drive to third. I just hope we go to the championship."
Brannon Kirkpatrick had two hits and four RBI for Easley. Grant Walendzik added three runs and three RBI. The Blue Sox got two runs from Hayden Parker, and two hits and a RBI from Isaac Calderon.
"We figured these first two games would be something of a warm-up. Game 1, we came out on the wrong side of the stick, but that's baseball," said Easley coach Brandon Sing, whose team is wrapping up their summer season with this tournament. "Gavin was a big plus for us, especially coming in after losing the first game. For us to score as many runs as we did, that shows we weren't going to pout about that first game.
"They were very excited to make this trip, even if it was about 10 hours of driving. I told them, that's not as far as some people are coming."