Low temperatures and days of snow finally gave way to upper 70s Friday afternoon as high school spring sports moved into high gear.
Nothing could have been hotter than the bats of the Cave Spring baseball team.
Scoring runs in every inning, Cave Spring ran away with the 18-3 River Ridge win over Patrick Henry at John Edwards Field in a game shortened to 5 innings by the 10-run rule.
The Knights, fresh off a 4-2 win over Blacksburg on Thursday and a 3-1 record in a showcase tournament in Myrtle Beach during spring break, looked to be in midseason form.
After Cave Spring jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the first inning, the Knights’ offense put the pedal down with a combination of hitting and execution.
Andrew Neighbors got things started in the top of the second when he reached on an infield error. Cameron Caldwell, Caleb Wetzel and Logan Altizer each followed with singles to produce two runs. Jalen Buster lifted a sacrifice fly, and Trey Hodson grounded into a fielders choice to round out the four run frame that put the Knights up 6-1.
Cave Spring added a run in the third and took firm control in the top of the fourth when Buster was hit by a pitch, Hodson doubled off the fence in left, AJ Cacciatore plated Buster on a grounder and Knights starting pitcher Grant Wilson left the yard with a two-run homer, putting the Knights up 10-1.
Patrick Henry looked poised for a major rally in their half of the 4th when Spencer Wright opened with a double and scored on two straight wild pitches. Nick Logan drew a base on balls, Carter Plunkett singled to deep short and ninth-place batter Eric Mendelowitz walked to load the bases with still none out.
But, Wilson coaxed a pitcher-to-catcher-to first double play, and although PH would get a second run on a balk, Cave Spring escaped further damage to maintain the 10-3 lead.
Any question of a late Patriot comeback was doused in the top of the fifth when Cave Spring scored 8 runs. Buster plated the first on a single, Hodson sent the second home on a sacrifice fly and a grounder got the third to put the Knights up 13-3, enough for the 10-run lead. Wyatt Hage singled for an insurance run and Wetzel cleared the bases with a 3-run hit before scoring himself on a single by Altizer for the final margin.