Only Mother Nature has been able to slow down Boyd-Buchanan's baseball team since the Bucs began checking in as 100 percent healthy.
Unfortunately for the Arts & Sciences Patriots, the sun was finally shining on a Monday and the Bucs were ready to break out the long ball to keep their hot streak going.
Getting home runs from Austin Bailey and Reid Smith, the Bucs won their fourth straight game in as many days with a 6-1 win over feisty CSAS in the District 5-A opener for both teams. The two teams meet again Tuesday at Boyd-Buchanan.
"We've finally seen the team we envisioned coming into the season," said Boyd-Buchanan head coach Josh Rider. "I'm very pleased with the way we're playing."
This past weekend in the Lookout Valley tournament, the Bucs took wins in their first three games -- including a defeat of the host school -- and were on the verge of battling red-hot South Pittsburg when the rains came. Declared the champion, Rider's team had one major change in it from previous weeks.
"We've got John Hale back and planted firmly in that No. 2 batting slot," Rider said. "He makes a huge difference in our lineup -- even if some days he's more effective at the beginning of the game than at the end."
Hale, still not running at 100 percent following a late-season football injury, still contributed to both of Boyd-Buchanan's scoring innings after CSAS jumped out 1-0. A towering home run to left by Patriots' first baseman Joey Tomlinson, his first of the year, broke the scoring ice leading off the second inning against Bucs starter Nathan Murrell.
CSAS starer Lucas Hicks worked into and out of trouble in the first and second innings, but he could not get past the Buc bats in the third.
Leadoff man Jim Cardwell gapped a double into left-center and moved to third when Hale's bunt was good enough for him to beat it out for a single. Hale stole second and both runners moved up 90 feet on Murrell's RBI grounder. Hicks got a pop fly for the second out, but Boyd-Buchanan took the lead on a single to the right-center fence by Hunter Payne. The big inning was completed when Austin Bailey lined a home run out to right in the blink of an eye, scoring Payne ahead of him.
In the fourth, Smith bombed his first-ever high school homer over the CSAS scoreboard to start the inning. With one out, Cardwell was hit by a pitch, stole second and came all the way around to score on Hale's second hit.
The Bucs weren't able to build on their lead because CSAS coach Rik Herrman brought in lefty Justin Brown, who worked 3.1 shutout innings of relief.
After battling through seven innings (five hits, two walks), Murrell gave way to Josh Antwine, and the righty struck out a pair while retiring the final six Patriots in order.
"In our last four games, we've hit four homers, so it's becoming part of our attack," Rider said. "Bailey's was the really big hit today.Coming when it did, that was the hit of the game."
Going into today's rematch, Boyd-Buchanan stands 7-4 (1-0 in 5-A), while CSAS is 2-7, 0-1.
Boyd-Buchanan 004 200 0 -- 6 14 0
Arts & Sciences 010 000 0 -- 1 5 1
Murrell, Antwine (6) and Reid Smith; Hicks, Brown (4) and Lee. Records: Boyd-Buchanan 7-4 (1-0 in 5-A); CSAS 2-7 (0-1).