After a tough stretch of three losses in a row last week, a stretch which saw the Knights outscored 46-8 in three games to Woodland, Mary Persons, and Jones County.
However, the Diamond Knights have bounced back with two big Region 4 victories over Eagles Landing and North Clayton this week. The Knights pummeled Eagles Landing 16-3 and came from behind to defeat North Clayton by a 6-2 score. The two wins bring the Knights overall record to 3-4, but more importantly 2-1 in the Region 4 standings.
“I thought really battled back this week and put last week behind us,” said Knights head coach Wayne Puckett. “Our pitching has been much better this week. The last two games our pitching has been the difference. Our goal is to throw an average of 15 pitches per inning. I thought Dillon Watson pitched great on Monday, throwing 75 pitches in just six innings. Dalton threw many more pitches against North Clayton, 117 pitches to be exact, but he had 11 strikeouts. The more strikeouts you have, the more pitches you throw. He really pitched well tonight.”
On Monday, the Knights battered the Golden Eagles from Eagles Landing by a 16-3 score. Upson-Lee senior catcher Austin Matson went 2-4 with two runs scored in the Knights victory over Eagles Landing, and 3-4 with two runs scored in the Knights victory over North Clayton. Matson has three extra base hits, four runs scored, and is batting over .500 in the last two games.
“Austin is our biggest hitter,” said Puckett. “Sometimes he tries to do too much, but if he will just stay within himself and continue to be patient at the plate, he will have a good season offensively.”
On Monday night, UL took advantage of numerous errors from Eagles Landing. Elijah Hill and Matt Crews each scored three runs in the contest to lead the Diamond Knights. Upson-Lee scored seven runs in the sixth inning, sealing the 13 run victory.
Matson and Hill each led the Knights with two hits. Ben Spillers, Dalton Strom, Jordan Bosworth, and Chris Duncan also tallied hits for the Knights. Bosworth, Hill, and Matt Crews each added stolen bases in the contest.
Upson-Lee’s Dillon Watson pitched six innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while striking out seven batters and walking three batters.
On Wednesday night, UL looked as if they were going to make quick work of the North Clayton Eagles. However, with the bases loaded and no one out, the Knights were unable to plate an runs in the inning.
Dalton Strom pitched one of the best games of his career. The junior threw 117 pitches in a complete game one-hitter. The Eagles scored their only two runs after lead-off walks. Strom finished the game with 11 strikeouts and six walks. Over the last two games, the Knights pitchers have allowed just five runs over 13 innings on six hits, struck out 18 batters and walked nine batters. The Knights have outscored their opponents 24-5 over that time period.
Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, it was Kyle Kelly who came off the bench to drive in the Knights game tying run. After Elijah Hill reached on an error and stole second base, Logan Fowler followed with a grounder which was bobbled by a North Clayton infielder. Kelly followed with a sharp ground out to second base, which drove home Hill from third base. Austin Matson followed with a booming double off the center field fence, driving home Fowler.
Brandon Blount reach on a walk one batter later, and Jordan Bosworth reached on an error and fielder’s choice. With the bases loaded Matt Crews drove a sac fly to right field, scoring Matson. Upson-Lee junior first baseman Chris Duncan followed Crews with a solid 2 RBI single to right field, and the Knights held on for the 6-2 victory.
Austin Matson led the Knights with three hits, including a triple and a double. Matson also added two runs scored and a RBI. Senior Jordan Bosworth added two hits and a RBI. Chris Duncan added a single with 2 RBI, while Jesse Glover added a single and Kyle Kelly tallied a RBI.