After a tough 3-2 defeat to Griffin last Wednesday, the Upson-Lee Knights were able to put the heartbreaking loss behind them and take care of business against North Clayton on Thursday at Silvertown Ballpark. Upson-Lee got four shutout innings from Senior Brandon Blount, and Kyle Kelly drove home two runs on two hits, as the Knights blanked the Eagles by a 15-0 score.
The win moves the Knights overall record to 11-11, and more importantly their Region 4 record to 8-8, placing them in a three way tie with Dutchtown and Woodland. Upson-Lee will play Dutchtown today for the Knights 2014 Senior Day. The Knights victory kept their playoff hopes alive with four games to play.
“It’s never easy to lose a game the way we lost the Griffin game,” said Knights head coach Wayne Puckett. “That’s kind of loss is tough for any team, but I thought we showed a lot of maturity as a team to come out here and take care of business. After a tough loss, sometimes teams can have a let down, but these guys stayed focused on North Clayton and put the Griffin game behind them. All we can do now it take it one game at a time, starting with Dutchtown today.”
The Knights only needed seven hits to score 15 runs and end their game with North Clayton in just four innings. In the bottom of the first inning, Upson-Lee scored two runs without the benefit of a hit. Kalen Puckett walked and then stole second base, and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Kyle Kelly also walked and then stole second base. Just one pitch later Puckett scored on a passed ball and Kelly advanced to third base. Late in the inning Kelly scored on a wild pitch by the North Clayton pitcher.
The Knights took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the second inning, an inning where they scored three more runs to take a 5-0 lead. Zack Gooden tallied the Knights first hit with a solid single to center field, followed by a hit to right field by Justin Shaw. Gooden and Shaw then executed a double steal to put runners at second and third base, followed by a RBI ground out to shortstop by Ben Spillers, scoring Gooden and giving UL a 3-0 lead. Kalen Puckett then earned his second walk of the game and also stole his second base of the game. Kyle Kelly then grounded out to second base, scoring Shaw and giving the Knights a 4-0 lead, then Puckett later came home to score on a wild pitch, and after two innings, the Knights led by a 5-0 score.
In the bottom of the third inning, Elijah Hill reached on a error, followed by Zack Gooden’s second hit of the game. Hill and Gooden each moved up a base on a wild pitch, and then Hill scored on a passed ball and Gooden moved to third base. The Knights took advantage of another passed ball by the Eagles catcher, and Gooden scored to give the Knights a 7-0 lead.
Upson-Lee fresman Clark Daniel made his varsity debut and pinch ran for Ben Spillers after Spillers drew a walk. Daniel would also stay in and catch for the remained of the game. After Spillers drew the walk, Daniel took second base on yet another wild pitch and Kalen Puckett followed with a walk. Kyle Kelly then singled to load the bases, with Daniel at third base and Puckett at second base. Daniel scored the first run of hit varsity career in a wild pitch by the Eagles.
With an 8-0 lead, the Knights headed into the bottom of the fourth inning. Elijah Hill drew a walk and then stole second and third bases, followed by a walk from Zack Gooden. Justin Shaw then grounded out to shortstop, scoring Hill from third base, and giving the Knights a 9-0 lead. Zack Good stole third base, and then came home to score on an error by the Eagles infield.
In his first official varsity at bat, Clark Daniel earned a walk, followed by a single from Kalen Puckett and a single from Kyle Kelly to load the bases. Chris Duncan then followed with a pinch hit double, clearing the bases and giving the Knights a 14-0 lead. Duncan then advanced to third base on a passed ball, and later scored on a wild pitch as the Knights sealed the 15-0 victory.
Kyle Kelly paced the Knights with two hits, two RBI, and two runs scored, while Zack Gooden added two hits and three runs scored. Chris Duncan tallied a double, three RBI, and a run scored, while Kalen Puckett added a hit, and three runs scored. Justin Shaw finished with a hit, RBI, and run scored, while Ben Spiller tallied a RBI in the victory.