After playing just one game last week in Warner Robins and taking a win and losing a weekend tournament in Valdosta to the elements last Friday and Saturday, Howard head baseball coach Danny Slaughter was a bit concerned that his Husky baseball team would not be ready for their contest with Decatur Thursday evening in the Atlanta suburb.
His team quickly put those worries to bed Thursday against the Bulldogs in their home opener, as Howard took advantage of a pair of Decatur errors in the fifth inning, sending ten to the plate in that frame, to take an 8-1 win on a windy and chilly night.
Howard (2-0, 0-0 in Region 2AAAA) took a 1-0 lead off losing pitcher Zac Shulman when Jake Taylor reached on a one-out fielders' choice and scored on an infield single by Larsen Vaughn two batters later.
The Huskies would then proceed to do put some distance between themselves and their hosts in the fourth as they scored three times in the top of the inning when Ben Adams scored on a Taylor single after Adams reached on a one-out single to left center. Taylor and teammate Jabin Smith would later cross the plate on a two-run double by senior center fielder C.J. Breland to make it a 4-0 contest with Breland out at third attempting to stretch his hit to a triple.
Decatur (0-1, 0-0 in Region 6A-AAA) would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning when Shulman reached on a lead off single off relief pitcher Casey Moring. Courtesy runner J.R. Swank would then steal second and move to third on a ground out by Brett Riley before scoring when Luke Baumgardener reached on a Vaughn fielding error to give them their only run of the contest.
The Howard offense would then go back to work in the top of the sixth when they chased reliever Eric Grimes off the mound by sending 10 to the plate in the frame and took advantage of a pair of errors and a bases-loaded walk in the contest, making all four runs in the inning unearned.
Taylor would then pitch the last two innings of the contest for the Huskies, giving up only a pair of hits while strking out four, sealing the win for Chris Mallinson.
Breland led the Huskies at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs. Riley led Decatur by going 2 for 3.
Howard 8, Decatur 1
Score by Innings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E LOB
Howard 1 0 0 3 0 4 0 8 6 1 8
Decatur 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 2 7
WP - Mallinson (1-0)
LP - Shulman (0-1)
2B - Breland (H)
Running time of game - 2 hours and 3 minutes
Conditions - Partly cloudy, windy and cold (gametime temp 36 degrees with winds from the west at 13)