Eagles Soar Over Silver Knights, 5-3
NEW MARTINSVILLE – Magnolia baseball coach Dave Cisar is pretty high on his young sophomore, Jake Gamble.
It is easy to see why.
The sophomore righty’s day consisted of earning a victory, providing a key hit, stealing a base and flashing the leather in a 5-3 Opening Day victory for Magnolia against rival Tyler Consolidated.
“He did everything,” Cisar said. “He threw the ball on the mound pretty well and I want to congratulate Tyler. They swung the bat pretty well. We didn’t play the best behind Jake, but him getting that three-run double, that was pretty impressive.”
Gamble got the ball to start the season opener, although it didn’t go exactly the way he wanted.
He struck out seven through the first four innings (nine for the game) and only allowed two hits. At the end of four, he was on the losing end of the scoreboard, 3-0.
Errors kept Tyler Consolidated (1-2) going with all of its runs being unearned.
Gage Huffman had a bases-loaded RBI walk for the first run, scoring Dylan Roberts, who reached on an error.
In the second, Tyler West reached on an error that could have ended the inning, but instead resulted in a Justin Bowman run and a 2-0 lead for the Silver Knights.
In the fourth, another error allowed West to reach base. He later came home on a Luke Daugherty RBI single.
But while Tyler Consolidated was in front 3-0, it was more of a case of what could have been. In the first and third innings, the Silver Knights left the bases loaded. They stranded 10 on base through the first four innings and 11 for the game.
“We battled, we came to play and this is a good rivalry game, but we just couldn’t finish them off,” Tyler Consolidated coach Rob Jones said. “It is early in the season and our timely hitting needs to improve if we are going to win big games. When you leave that many guys on base, your timely hitting isn’t where it needs to be.”
One thing that was working for the Silver Knights was Daugherty, who finished with six strikeouts, but ended up a hard-luck loser.
Daugherty had Magnolia off balance for most of the game, but one bad inning did him in.
He allowed one hit through the first four frames, but lead off the fifth with a walk to No. 7 hitter Jared Kocher and things went downhill from there.
Back-to-back hits from Silas McKeever and Eli Nice loaded the bases. Pat Mirandy brought home the first Blue Eagles run with an infield single.
Then Gamble helped his own cause with a bases-clearing double down the left-field line that gave Magnolia its first lead.
“We had one good inning and that was it,” Cisar said. “Gamble had a big hit and a freshman, McKeever, getting a big hit really helped right there. We gave Eli a bunt sign and he hit a shot to center field. I am really happy with how my kids played, especially with how the game started.
“First games are usually like this and we still managed to fight our way through.”
Gamble wasn’t done. He stole third and an errant throw allowed him to get up and trot home for a 5-3 lead.
Teammate Will Nice took the mound for the final two innings, allowing two hits, while striking out one.
In the seventh, with Tyler’s Jake Rice on base by a fielder’s choice, the tying run game came to the plate in the form of Noah Smith.
Smith lined a hard shot to the left, but Gamble, who moved to shortstop after being replaced on the mound, made a diving catch to record the final out.
“One game doesn’t make our season, but we worked awful hard to get where we are at,” Cisar said. “It was a good opening high school baseball game.”