Good start leads to Oak Ridge victory

TROJAN Tanner Ales scores on a ball to the backstop during Monday's Delta River League win over Sheldon. Photo by Ernest Valenzuella III
TROJAN Tanner Ales scores on a ball to the backstop during Monday's Delta River League win over Sheldon. Photo by Ernest Valenzuella III

Kyle Stephens made his first start on the mound for Oak Ridge Monday in the Trojans 11-1 Delta River League baseball win over Sheldon.

The senior, who missed last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, shut out the Huskies for four innings, giving up three hits, and struck out three Husky batters.

“I’m real happy for him,” said Oak Ridge head coach Todd Melton of Stephens. “Four innings, that’s about as max as we can go with him. And 60 pitches for him? That’s a nice, hefty workload. He did a great job.”

Oak Ridge (3-1, 5-5) gave Stephens run support in the first inning. After Mickey Meinhofer, Tyson Solis and Logan Denholm all walked, Kyle Barisone singled to left field to drive in Meinhofer (2-for-3, RBI) and Solis for a 2-0 lead. Erik McNeill (3-for-3 with 3 RBIs) then doubled down the right field line to plate Denholm and Barisone.

“That carried us,” Melton said.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Oak Ridge scored three times off two hits, two walks and an error for a 7-0 lead. Tanner Ales scored on a passed ball while Andrew Lackowski and Brogan Cooper crossed on Meinhofer’s single.

Sheldon (3-1, 6-5) scored its only run in the game in the top of the sixth inning when Hunter White slammed a home run.

Oak Ridge finalized the game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Denholm walked, Ales doubled and Denholm and pinch-runner Craig Holloway both scored on McNeill’s single. Rapollo singled in McNeill and Lackowski came in on Solis’ single to right field.

After a slow start to the season, Melton feels the team is turning it around at the right time.

“I think there is more for us,” Melton said. “The guys are getting dialed in. We are always looking for bigger and better swings.”

Kyle Lucke pitched the final two innings for the Trojans, striking out two Husky batters.

“These two guys (Lucke and Stephens) and the job they did today sets us up for the rest of the week. It was an awesome job by them,” Melton said.


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