What a great day for the first day of high school baseball to begin.
It was even better for the home-standing Boyd-Buchanan Buccaneers as they used a seven-run first inning as a springboard to a 13-5 non-district victory over the Chattanooga Christian Chargers Monday afternoon.
Everything that could have gone right for the Bucs did in that first at-bat while everything that could have possibly gone wrong did as well for the Chargers.
The result was a huge lead early and the Bucs took advantage as they rolled to their first win of the season.
"For the first game, I thought we did a pretty good job of putting the ball in play," said Boyd-Buchanan coach Josh Rider while watering the pitcher's mound afterward.
"We were able to take advantage of their mistakes early, but we were aggressive offensively and we made their defense work. That early lead allowed our pitcher to relax just a little bit, but I thought that Skyler Anderson pitched pretty well for the first four innings. He sort of hit a rough spot in the fifth, but I thought he pitched pretty well for his first outing of the year.
"Even though we had the big lead early, we didn't want to let up as there was still a lot of baseball to play. Chattanooga Christian has a good team and they'll have a good year, but it's nice to get that first win behind us," Rider added with a smile.
Anderson allowed eight hits in six innings, walking two and recording eight strikeouts. He was replaced by Jim Cardwell after allowing a leadoff walk to Zach Mercer and a walk to Brandon Mason to lead off the seventh. Cardwell made quick work of his first appearance as he quickly got the first out on a fielder's choice grounder to short before ending the game with a pair of strikeouts.
But if there was a turning point in this game, it came in the bottom of the first when the Buccaneers sent 11 hitters to the plate.
Cardwell led things off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Cameron Wolfe. Nathan Murrell was called out on strikes and it looked like CCS starter Mercer might escape any further trouble, but that's when the roof caved in on the Chargers.
A walk to Anderson was followed by an RBI-single from E.J. Matthews before John Sewell reached on the first of five Charger errors in the first inning alone. Hunter Payne singled before Colby Morgan plated another run with a single.
By the time the final out had been recorded, the Bucs were well on their way to their season-opening victory.
CCS coach Joel Johnson had a brief talk with his team following the game. He's mainly interested in how they respond in practice on Tuesday.
"This is just one game, but the key for us is how we react tomorrow in practice. I'm not pleased with how we played and I can't explain what happened in the first inning, but I know that we gave them way too many two-out chances.
"We'll be okay, but we can't let a game like this become a trend. I was really proud of the way Brandon Mason came back. Things started poorly for him, but he put that behind him and played pretty well," he praised his shortstop who was charged with three of those first-inning miscues before coming back with two hits and three runs batted in.
The Bucs finished with 13 runs on 14 hits while making a couple of errors. The Chargers ended the game with five runs on eight hits and seven errors.
Boyd-Buchanan's lead was 12-1 going to the top of the fifth, but the Chargers put together a rally of their own to keep the game going.
Jon Hundley and Jonathan Farlett led off with back-to-back singles before Mercer walked to load the bases. Mason followed with a two-run single before Jack Bosworth plated another run with a double to deep left-center. Mac Cochran's sacrifice fly to center sent Mason home with the fourth run of the inning.
Cardwell and Colby Morgan both had three hits for the Bucs while Murrell had two singles and scored twice. Matthews also finished with a pair of singles. Garet Baker, who scored two runs early as a courtesy runner, plated the final run of the day for the Bucs with a double in the sixth, but he was thrown out at third as he tried to stretch it into a triple.
Mason was the only Charger with two hits. Jared Miller joined Mercer, Bosworth, Cochran, Hundley and Farlett with one hit apiece.
The Bucs will be at home again on Tuesday when they host Sequatchie County while CCS returns to action on Thursday when they take part in the South Pittsburg Invitational.
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN 001 040 0 -- 5 8 7
BOYD-BUCHANAN 731 101 x -- 13 14 2
Z. Mercer, M. Mercer (3), Mason (4) and Taylor; Anderson, Cardwell (7) and Payne.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)