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Lions deliver big back-to-back innings to top Hawks, 8-4

Red Oak got the jump on Lion baseball Tuesday night, but after a mid-game offensive surge Ennis was in great position to protect its home field.
Trailing 2-0 through two innings, Ennis (14-4-1, 4-1) reeled off seven-total runs over the next pair of innings to roll into an 8-4 home win. The Lions also out-hit the Hawks 8-4 as each team committed two errors.
“We were kind of sluggish all-around at the start without our focus, but regained our composure and started hitting the ball well,” said coach Kevin Kalinec.
“The top of the order is swinging the bat really well right now and they got rolling in the middle of the game.”
To the coach’s point, Weston Montgomery (two doubles, two RBIs), Chris Lewis (three singles, four RBIs) and Rusty Collins (double, single, RBI) were outstanding in the one, two and three-holes respectively. Montgomery (7 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 W, 1 HBP, 11 SO) found his groove during the middle innings on the mound and had his way with the Hawk hitters for the most part.
Ennis didn’t get off to a good start with two errors in the first inning as Red Oak went up 2-0 on a single and an RBI single. While the Lion offense didn’t get anything done in the first couple of innings, Montgomery breezed through the Hawk second as Clayton Mummert fielded a couple of groundouts at second base while the pitcher notched his second strikeout.
“Those things happen in baseball,” Montgomery said of the early errors.
“We just had to battle through it and find a way to win. Early, I was having trouble controlling my fastball and started going to my curveball a little more because it was falling in for strikes. By the middle of the game, I started hitting my spots a little better with the fastball.”
In the bottom of the third, the Lion offense came alive. After Nathan Dixon reached base via catcher interference to open the inning, Jon Lewis (slow-roller single), Montgomery (RBI double down right-field line), Chris Lewis (two-RBI single, to third on fielding error), Collins (slow-roller single) and Matt Gunn (RBI fielder’s choice) went to town consecutively for a 4-2 Ennis lead. When Gunn put the ball in play, Collins alertly forced the second baseman to chase him and thus prevented a double play.
“That was a great baserunning decision, but Rusty is always a heads-up baserunner and a student of the game,” Kalinec said.
“Jon has a lot more confidence at the plate and he’s really been working hard on his swing. We’ve got to get the rest of the guys going like Weston, Chris and Rusty are.”
Though Red Oak got one back in its fourth with a hit batter and an RBI fielder’s choice, it’s not like Montgomery was struggling – he struck out the other three batters.
The top of the Ennis order picked up right where it left off in the fourth, taking a 7-3 lead when Montgomery (RBI double down left-field line), Chris Lewis (RBI single, to second on throwing error) and Collins (RBI double down right-field line) were done delivering at the plate.
“I’m finding more gaps in the defense now for doubles compared to early in the season,” Montgomery said.
“I was seeing the ball really well,” Lewis added.
“When that’s the case, all you have to do is put the bat on it. Weston and Rusty also had it going offensively tonight and it led us to some big innings.”
Montgomery rolled through the next couple of innings, striking out three more Hawks while Mummert recorded his sixth and seventh defensive outs in what was a strong recovery from an early error. Jon Lewis and Montgomery drew walks in the sixth to set the table for a Chris Lewis RBI single to right that gave Ennis its biggest lead at 8-3.
“Clayton did a good job defensively with all of the action that came his way,” Kalinec said.
While Montgomery encountered some difficulty in the seventh regarding a couple of walks, a single and a run on a passed ball, he also had an answer to slam the door with a fielded groundout and his final two strikeouts. Ennis will now travel to face district-leading Waxahachie on Friday at 7 p.m.
“Weston threw more pitches than I wanted him to tonight, but I wasn’t about to get the ball out of his hand toward the end,” Kalinec said.
“He did a really good job. We’ve got to get off to a better start in Waxahachie against a very good team, but we’re not a pushover.”
“We’re going to bring it on Friday, so I hope they’re ready,” said Lewis, who will get the start on the hill against the Indians.
Before he looked ahead, Montgomery was just pleased with where his team is through its first 19 games of the season.
“We’re trying to play our hardest every time out and it’s a good feeling to be at 4-1 right now in district,” he said.
“As a team, we’re just hitting the ball a lot better than last year and picking each other up.”

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Posted by on Mar 26 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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