HOLDEN – The Doyle-based Louisiana Nationals Purple team used a formula of timely hitting and solid pitching to build an early lead in sparking an 8-1 win over the Walker Gold team Monday afternoon at the Louisiana Nationals facility.
“That’s what we’re trying to do is jump on the board early this summer and throw strikes,” Doyle coach Darrell Frasier, who filled in for Tim Beatty, said after Doyle pitchers combined on a three-hitter and sent nine batters to the plate in a three-run first inning. “If we can do those two things, we’ll have a pretty good summer.”
Walker Gold coach Clint Carver said his team still has some work to do based on Monday’s effort.
“Coming into the 2020 season, we had a goal of changing the culture, trying to win 20 games, win a playoff game, and we were on pace to do that,” he said. “When it (season) cut, I think our kids assumed that they had done it, and they had not done it. But we assumed we were going to keep that pace, and it’s kind of like we’re just going to roll the ball out and beat teams, and that’s not where we are. We’re not there yet. We’ve got good players. We’ve got good kids, but we’re not there where we can just show up kind of half-cocked and beat a team, and with a team like Doyle, that’s how you get beat by 10.”
Doyle got four hits in its big first inning – a leadoff double by Cade Watts and singles by Cade Lyons, Tyson Stewart and Braden McLin. Braden Keen’s sacrifice fly to left after consecutive hits by Watts and Lyons drove in the game’s first run.
A bases-loaded walk to Bo Ellzey scored another run, and Landon Wolfe reached on an error to push the lead to 3-0.
“They can really hit, and they got after us early,” Clint Carver said. “Every time we threw a fastball, they hammered it and just kept on and kept on. We were lucky to get out of the first inning with just three runs, and I don’t think our guys ever got started. It was just like a punch in the face in the first round, and we never could get our feet back under us.”
After Doyle starter Logan Turner retired Walker in order in the bottom of the first, he led off the second with a walk and scored on Keen’s single past third for a 4-0 lead.
Walker got its lone run in the bottom of the inning when Mason Morgan singled to lead off and scored on a two-out error.
Doyle stranded runners at second and third in the top of the third, and after Camden Carver got a one-out single in the bottom of the inning, Ellzey made the catch in left field and doubled him off at first base on a nice throw to end the inning.
“We’re pretty fortunate we’re senior-heavy this year, so we have a lot of experience on the field, so when a guy sees a guy turn his back and jog back to the bag, we’re going to try and be aggressive and take advantage of it, so you’ll see more back picks and throws like that.”
Walker had another runner thrown out in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“I’ve been doing this 30 years, that’s the worst effort I’ve seen, and that goes to what you’re saying – three pickoffs, the walks,” Clint Carver said. “I think we had six errors. I don’t want to take anything away from Doyle. They pounded the ball, but when we had our chance, we just lost focus and we weren’t mentally into the game, and I think that causes the little things to creep up like they did.”
Doyle capped the scoring with a four-run fourth as Turner singled to start the inning and scored on a one-out error. Watts and Lyons had consecutive doubles to push the lead to 7-1 before an error in right field led to the final run of the game.
Turner gave up two hits, one walk and struck out one in three innings, combining with Caiden Barcia and Hunter Bankston on a three-hitter.
“Logan Turner did well,” Frasier said. “He only threw 34 pitches in three innings. That’s pretty good. We try and throw 12-to-15 an inning, and he was well below that, so good for him. He probably could have extended more, but it’s summer. We want to get other guys work too. I thought he did a good job.”
Owen Forbes, Nick Graves, Chance Reed and Brock Darbonne combined to give up 11 hits, two walks and strike out three in five innings for Walker.