COLUMBIA — Travis Bittle set the tone for the Rock Bridge baseball team in the first inning.
The senior struck out the side in the top of the first in Monday’s 9-1 victory over Boonville at Rock Bridge Field. In the bottom of the first, he contributed from the batter’s box.
The Bruins had already jumped out to a 3-0 lead when Bittle stepped to the plate with runners on second and third. He brought both runners home with a single.
The Pirates had some fielding problems in the inning, failing to make plays on two infield pop ups. Rock Bridge coach Justin Towe was relieved to see the Bruins (12-1) take advantage of the mistakes.
“I guarantee if those happen again, they’re going to make them every single time. But since they didn’t, we were lucky enough to get runs out of them,” he said.
The five runs were all the scoring Rock Bridge needed.
Towe said he was glad to see Bittle have a good performance in front of a home crowd. He threw five innings, allowing only one hit while striking out six batters to pick up the victory.
“It’s been a while since Travis threw well at home,” Towe said.
Bittle credited his fielders with helping him shut out the Pirates.
“I go out there and throw a lot of ground balls and they’re making their plays and that helps out a lot, because errors really kill,” he said.
Bittle added that he is happy to be producing at the plate again after a somewhat sluggish start to the season.
“I started out kind of slow, but I’ve started to get more relaxed and just try to hit strikes,” he said.
He finished the game 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs.
After having issues with fielding and pitching to start the season, Towe said he’s happy with where the team is now.
“All in all, we played good defense," he said. "Travis threw the ball extremely well, and we swung it well, so that’s pretty good. We can’t ask for more than that. We’re kind of rolling right now.”
The Bruins play next Wednesday at Hickman.