Quick start lifts Hawks past Luray

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

FRONT ROYAL – Skyline used a first-inning offensive explosion and a solid pitching effort by a trio of pitchers to pull out a win on Tuesday night.

The Hawks beat Luray, 5-1, in non-district baseball at Bing Crosby Stadium. Skyline is now 2-0, with both wins coming against Luray.

“It feels great to start off 2-0,” Skyline senior Sterling Jennings said. “We haven’t been able to practice on our dirt field yet. The only time we’ve played on the dirt is scrimmages and games, so really only four times now.”

Skyline (2-0) scored five runs in the bottom of the first. Dakota Smith drew a leadoff walk and Hunter Partlowe was hit by a pitch from Luray starter Zach Wright.

Tyler Johnson and Jennings each followed with RBI singles to give Skyline a 2-0 lead.
One out later, Jacob Sims doubled to score Johnson and Jennings for a 4-0 lead. A sacrifice fly by Robbie Belanger made it a 5-0 Skyline lead.

“We came out with the bats,” Skyline coach Jay Barnes said. “We were able to put the ball in play hard, which is what I like to see.”

The Hawks beat the Bulldogs on March 22, 11-9. It was their first game since then. With a game scheduled for Friday against Warren County, Barnes said he decided to use several different pitchers, so that they will all be available on Friday.

Jennings went three innings for the Hawks on the mound. He struck out six, walked only one and allowed just one hit.

The senior said it was a little different knowing that he would only be pitching three innings.

“It’s tough, but it’s worth it knowing that I can pitch against my rival on Friday,” Jennings said.

Ryan Abel relieved Jennings in the fourth. He pitched three innings, and gave up only two hits, while walking two and striking out two. Joe Pingley pitched the seventh, and struck out one and gave up one hit.

“I was definitely pleased with the performance of the guys on the mound,” Barnes said. “Sterling, Ryan Abel and Joe Pingley all did a great job. They limited the walks, which was a big thing for us in the last game.”

Wright only went one inning for Luray, and was relieved by Lowery in the second inning. Lowery pitched three stellar innings for the Bulldogs, allowing only one hit.

The Bulldogs (1-3) scored in the top of the sixth. Lowery drew a one-out walk off Abel. One out later, Blake Dean doubled. Lowery then scored on an error on a pitch hit by Jacob Painter.

Dean had two hits to lead the Bulldogs. Skyline had six hits, three of which came in the first inning.

“That’s something were working on — is getting a lead and then building on the lead,” Barnes said.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd