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Rock Bridge senior hits home run to spark 10-0 win in baseball season opener

Friday, March 19, 2010 | 8:45 p.m. CDT

Not many home runs are hit at Rock Bridge High School.

The baseball field's dimensions make hitting a home run a daunting task. It's 408 feet from home plate to center field and 368 feet to left center.

Home runs are especially rare on the first pitch a batter sees to open a new season.

But, that's exactly how it happened for Rock Bridge senior outfielder Max Byers. He belted a three-run home run just to the left of the 368 sign in left center on the first pitch he saw of 2010.

"I didn't think it was gonna go because Rock Bridge is such a huge field," Byers said. "But once I saw it was gone, I was in a different world. I was so happy."

Byers' home run drove in the first three runs of a season-opening 10-0 win for the Bruins over Waynesville on Friday. The game lasted just four and a half innings due to the Bruins' massive offensive output.

Head coach Justin Towe said Byers' home run took stress off his team as well as made them excited.

"For the team, it takes pressure off everybody because now we have a three-run lead," Towe said. "Plus, it fires everyone up on the bench because they see (the home run) and think that's a pretty cool thing. Not many home runs are hit here, so when one is, it's a pretty big thing."

Rock Bridge pounded a pair of Waynesville pitchers for 10 runs on eight hits over four innings. Bruins hitters were aggressive at the plate, swinging at a lot of first pitches and putting 10 first pitches in play.

"We were preached to be aggressive," Byers said. "I think the thing that helps us stay aggressive is the focus that we came out with today."

Rock Bridge senior shortstop Zach Kurzejeski attributed the team's aggressive hitting to familiarity with the Waynesville pitcher, Matt Hesteness. The Bruins faced Hesteness last season.

Rock Bridge pitching was equally dominant. Three pitchers combined for five shut-out innings, giving up two hits and striking out eight Waynesville batters.


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