The Hannibal baseball team throttled Highland 10-2 on Tuesday night to tie a school record with its 15th victory of the season.
Evan Sanders scored in an unconventional manner Tuesday night for the Hannibal baseball team.
Wyatt Waelder lifted a sacrifice fly to the right-center field gap, plenty deep for lead runner Lucas Brown to tag up at third base and race home uncontested.
Sanders tagged up at second base, sprinted to third and received a green light from coach Ian Hatton to circle home for the Pirates' fifth run of the second inning as they surged ahead for a 10-2 win over Highland at Veterans Sports Complex.
“I can't say I've seen that too often,” Hatton said. “We like to be aggressive on the bases, and it paid off for us tonight. It was a great heads up by Evan.”
Hannibal posted its 15th win of the season to tie a single-season school record set in 2009.
The Pirates erupted for a pair of five-run innings to fuel the victory, while Payton Phillips fired seven strikeouts over a complete game effort to earn the win.
Will Whitaker went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. The Hannibal leadoff hitter also scored his 32nd run of the season in the fourth inning, eclipsing Zach Nichols' previous program best of 31.
“We just click,” Whitaker said of the 15-6 Pirates, who have won 15 of their past 18. “I've been playing with this group for a while, and we just click, click, click, and once we get on a roll, it's hard to stop us.”
Hannibal benefited from a trio of hit batters with the bases loaded during the second inning.
The Pirates were hit by six pitches and drew four walks while collecting 10 hits in the win.
“Sometimes that's kind of frustrating to take a bunch of walks or get hit by a pitch a bunch of times, but that's ultimately what led to our offense,” Hatton said.
Waelder's two-RBI sacrifice fly made it 5-0.
Phillips refused to allow Highland back into the game, though the Cougars scratched for two unearned runs in the top of the fourth to trim their deficit to 5-2.
The Hannibal hurler worked around a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and finished his night with two spotless innings.
“I pretty well put the ball in the spots I needed to, and my defense worked behind me,” Phillips said. “We made a few errors, but we bounced back from that. We just kept going.”
Whitaker added to the lead with Hannibal's first of two RBI ground-rule doubles in the bottom of the fourth.
Gabe Worthington followed with a run-scoring hit to left, and another Pirate came home via an error on the play.
Chase Kirby drove home Hannibal's ninth run with a double down the left field line.
The catcher also shined behind the plate as he picked off a would-be base stealer at second base with a strong throw in the second inning.
“Chase has been consistent all year behind the plate,” Hatton said. “He's made some big throws and picked some guys off, which has led to a lot of momentum. And tonight was just a continuation of the way he's swinging the bat in the middle of our lineup.”
Colton Brown capped the scoring by darting a RBI single to right to put Hannibal up 10-2.
John Trenhaile contributed two hits and a run for the Pirates on the night.
Tommy Harvey took the loss for Highland (15-5), champion of the Clarence Cannon Conference.
Hannibal plays at Timberland in the first round of the Class 5 District 8 Tournament on Friday night.
The Pirates view the district tournament as a chance to continue their historic season.
"I don't think too many teams are going to want to play this team," Phillips said. "We want to get another win on Friday. We have 15 now. Friday would put us at 16. And then we'll keep going as long as we keep winning."