The Hannibal baseball team broke through for five runs in the second inning Thursday and never looked back for an 11-1 win over Moberly.
The second inning was a welcome sight for the Hannibal baseball team Thursday night.
One day after stranding 10 runners during a loss at Quincy Notre Dame and one frame removed from leaving the bases loaded, Hannibal erupted for five runs.
The Pirates never looked back to dominate North Central Missouri Conference rival Moberly 11-1 in six innings at Flower City Park in Palmyra for their first win of the season.
“All year, we've gotten guys on base but haven't had clutch hitting, but today we really came through on that,” said Hannibal senior Colton Brown, who pitched a complete game and went 1-for-3. “The whole lineup is getting deep again and we're going to keep it going.”
Lucas Brown raced home on a wild pitch for Hannibal's first run of the game with one out in the second inning.
Gabe Worthington drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk to score Braden Schlueter to make it 2-1 before Will Whitaker took advantage of a passed ball for the third tally.
John Trenhaile capped the second-inning damage by roping a single to left field that scored Wyatt Waelder and Worthington to put the Pirates up 5-1.
Schlueter kept the offensive outburst going in the third with a double to center field that drove in Lawson Rickey and Lucas Brown to make it 7-1. Waelder then grounded out to score Schlueter for the Pirates' eighth run.
A two-out RBI double by Austin Laughlin in the top of the second provided the only run for Moberly in the loss.
“They scored first, but we were able to come back and rally a little bit,” Schlueter said. “We got runners on base and we knocked them in. It was just great.”
With a lead to work with, Colton Brown settled in and allowed just five hits over his six innings of work.
The senior struck out three while surrendering one earned run.
“Colton got the start in Game 1 of the year, but it's been three weeks,” Hannibal coach Ian Hatton said. “It took him a little bit to settle in, but once we did get the lead, he started to pitch ahead and with more confidence. He did a great job keeping his composure and we made a couple huge plays behind him."
Schlueter came through with the web gem of the night in the top of the fourth.
The junior right fielder picked up a single off the bat of Josh Price and fired a strike to catcher Chase Kirby, who tagged out the lead runner trying to score from second.
“The ball came to me with a runner on second, and it was just muscle memory,” Schlueter said. “I bobbled it a little bit, but I was able to get the throw off and it was a great tag by Chase. It was a bang-bang play.”
Following the putout, Colton Brown recorded the final two outs of the inning for Hannibal and allowed just two more base runners the remainder of the contest.
“Once I settle in, I like to let my defense work behind me,” the pitcher said. “That's exactly what happened tonight. Everywhere I looked somebody was getting gunned down or Gary (Culp) was over there at second making diving plays.”
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Colton Brown in the fourth scored Trenhaile to make it 9-1 before Waelder drove home Schlueter in the same manner in the fifth.
Schlueter grounded into a fielder's choice with one out in the sixth to score Rickey, growing the advantage to 10 runs to enforce the mercy rule.
Schlueter, batting ninth in the lineup, finished the win 2-for-3 with three runs, three RBIs and a walk.
“I take it as a second leadoff,” the sparkplug said of his offensive role. “I'm glad I was able to do my job and help out my team.”
Trenhaile, Worthington and Lucas Brown finished with two hits a piece, while Waelder went 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
Braedan Wetrich allowed eight runs (five earned) in two-plus innings for Moberly in the loss.
Hannibal outhit the Spartans 10-5 and also benefited from five free passes.
The Pirates (1-3, 1-2 NCMC) are scheduled to host Fulton at 5 p.m. on Friday, though the location is yet to be determined.
Thursday's home game was moved to Palmyra due to an unplayable field at Veterans Sports Complex.
Hatton mentioned he viewed the win over Moberly as a breakthrough for his squad.
“The effort tonight and the attitudes of our guys and the unwillingness to give in with a slow start to the year, it says a lot about the character of our guys and where we're moving as a unit and a program,” the coach said.