A saying in baseball is hitting is contagious. For the Hoptown Hoppers, that was very true tonight.
Hoptown opened the game with seven runs in the first inning and kept piling on until it tallied 19 runs in a 19-5 victory over the Henderson Flash at Tiger Field.
Whether it came from drawing walks or getting hits, the Hoppers were all over the bases. In the first inning, after the first two batters in Hoptown’s order were retired, the next nine batters reached base, leading to a seven-run inning to start the game.
For the first time this season, the Hoppers were playing ahead big, and manager Grayson Crawford said it was good to see his team pass the bat around the lineup early on.
“I think we had some walks early in the game that helped,” Crawford said. “We got a couple of big hits, which is something that we’ve kind of been missing. I was worried a little bit early wondering if we were going to get those because we haven’t done that lately. But it got a little contagious there in the middle and it was good to see.”
Through three and a half, the Hoppers led 8-3, but a five-run lead wasn’t enough for the home team.
In the bottom of the fourth, Hoptwon scored six runs, which was highlighted by Chandler Kendall, who belted a three-run home run in the frame to put his team up 13-3.
The homer was the cherry on top for Kendall, as he concluded his night with a game-high five RBI.
Crawford said Kendall, who will begin his first year at Tennessee Wesleyan this fall, has a bright future ahead of him on the diamond.
“Chandler is a great player -- young guy (and) somebody that’s going to have a great career,” he said. “I think it was good for him just to get a little bit of confidence. I think he swung the bat well in the first game when he hit. I don’t know if he got any hits but just had some good swings and has an approach at the plate. I was glad to see him have some success tonight.”
The Hoppers added five runs of insurance in the final two frames to seal back-to-back wins, moving them back to .500 on the year (3-3).
Crawford said his team’s win over the Paducah Chiefs a night prior gave his young squad a little bit of swagger and confidence.
“I think you saw from last night (against the Chiefs) after winning a close game and getting that good feeling that comes with winning,” he said. “We played with a little more relaxation tonight, a little more confidence. That’s what baseball is about, you’ve got to have confidence and I think you saw that tonight.”
Weather permitting, Hoptown will return to action at 7:05 p.m. tomorrow night against the Owensboro RiverDawgs at Tiger Field.
Hoptown 19, Henderson 5
HEN 012 000 2 5 4 3
HOP 710 614 X 19 14 2
WP: Barlow (4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K)
LP: Cato (0.2 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 3 BB)
HEN: Johnston (2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI), Byerly (1-3, R), White (1-3, R)
HOP: McGowan (2-4, R, 2 RBI), Jenkins (1-4, R), Burkey (1-1, R), Crooms (2-4, 3 R), Stevenson (2-4, 3 R, RBI), Bennett (3-4, 3 R, 4 RBI), Fischer (1-2, 2 R, 4 RBI), Kendall (2-4, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI).