RACELAND The Jake Heighton Show began on the game’s second pitch as he deposited the ball over the left field fence in the Raceland Rams 22-0 win over Fairview in the 16th Region All ‘A’ Tournament finals on Tuesday at Raceland.
Heighton, one of the best players in the region, added another homer in his second at-bat and also threw three shutout innings for good measure. The Rams out scored their opponents in the tournament by a combined score of 43 runs to a single run.
Heighton, the Rams leadoff hitter, got plenty of help from the three batters behind him in the lineup. Connor Hughes had five hits, scored five runs, and stole three bases from his two-hole spot in the batting order. Clay Coldiron and Kirk Pence combined for five hits and four runs. The Rams pounded out twenty hits en route to the easy victory.
Rams coach Marty Mills was pleased with the Rams start.
“We got it going early today,” Mills said. “Last night we kind of struggled a little bit. Playing tournament style baseball the first two days is different. Luckily, we had great weather which is good for our arms. We have a stable of kids and we will go to Bellevue tomorrow and throw two more pitchers.”
One guy who was impressed with the Rams was Fairview coach Cody Sammons. “They are a great team. Heighton and Pence are both great pitchers. These games can happen, It is what it is. We are a young team and we just need to find our identity. I expect us to regroup and come back strong.”
The Rams (3-0) used some timely hitting and Fairview mistakes to put up even runs in the first three innings. A Coldiron single drove in two and Pence added a double to plate two more runs in the third inning to stretch the lead to 11-0.
Meanwhile Heighton, after giving up two hits in the first inning, retired the last seven batters he faced and ended his three inning of work with five strikeouts. The Eagles ( 2-1) committed four errors had three wild pitches, and hit two batters in the second and third innings.
The Rams reserves put up an eight spot in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 22-0. Levi Riley came off the bench to drive in two runs on two hits. The Rams scored seven runs on seven hits in the final inning of play. Pence came in the final two innings and recorded four strikeouts to close out the victory.
Despite the loss, Sammons was pleased with the Eagles two wins Monday night to advance to the All A championship game. “I was very pleased with our team yesterday. We played a tough doubleheader yesterday in Olive Hill and came out with two wins. We are still trying to find our three and four pitchers behind Jaxon Manning and Gabe Crooks. Hopefully, we can find a couple guys to back them up.”
Mills is excited about the direction the Rams program is headed after opening the season with three wins and a championship.
“We have talked about putting a program together not just having good teams,” Mills said. “This team here is kind of a program year so to speak. It is really nice to see the good start and we have a lot of positive things to build on as the season progresses.”
The Rams advance to play the 15th Region All ‘A’ winner at a later date.
RACELAND 434 38 — 22 20 1
FAIRVIEW 000 00 — 0 2 7
Heighton, Pence (4) and Thornsberry. Harper, Adkins (2), Allen (5). W-Heighton L-Harper. 2B—Pence, (R), Shore (R), Riley (1). HR- Heighton 2 (R).