Early home run helps Rock Bridge baseball team roll past Hickman

Monday, May 9, 2011 | 9:50 p.m. CDT; updated 10:43 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 9, 2011
Rock Bridge senior John Miles, left, receives congratulations from his teammates after his third-inning home run Monday against Hickman.

COLUMBIA — With a full count in the bottom of the third inning, Rock Bridge senior John Miles needed some time.

The MU recruit raised his hand, signaling timeout — only the home plate umpire didn't see it. Hickman senior pitcher Tyler Kemble began his wind up, and Miles jumped back into the batter's box. Kemble's pitch came quickly, and Miles got just enough of the ball to foul it behind home plate.

Hickman 1, Rock Bridge 9

Hickman: 6 hits, 1 run, 2 errors
Rock Bridge: 15 hits, 9 runs, 0 errors

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Miles then slammed his bat into home plate, screaming at the umpire for not recognizing his gesture. Rock Bridge coach Justin Towe came out of the dugout, partly to argue with the umpire, but also to calm down his batter.

"I stepped out of the box and I called time," Miles said. "I thought the pitcher wasn't even in his wind up, but I looked back and the umpire didn't give me time."

When emotions subsided, Miles stepped into the batter's box and waited for the next pitch.


Miles hit the ball over the left field wall, giving his team a 3-0 lead and sending the home field Bruins fans to their feet. 

"I slammed my bat and I shouldn't have done that," Miles said. "But I got a little fire in me and hit a home run."

Miles must have felt better after the Bruins' 9-1 victory over the Kewpies on Monday. 

Miles used the argument as motivation. Miles used the home run as a cool down. When Miles rounded third base, he held out his hand to the umpire. They shook hands and Miles apologized for slamming his bat. 

"I talked to him and he knows he needs to control his emotions a little bit better," Towe said. "But he went up there and apologized to the umpire which was good to see."

Miles' home run was one of 15 hits the Bruins (24-2) accumulated against the Kewpies (10-11). 

"Rock Bridge is very good," Hickman coach Dan Devine said. "And if you don't come ready play every pitch, they are going to take advantage of that."

Bruins pitcher Travis Bittle was a big reason Hickman couldn't get their offense going. The senior pitcher threw three scoreless innings, allowing two hits while also striking out two. 

With the Class 4, District 9 tournament starting on Saturday, both teams are trying to remain fresh. The Bruins took out Bittle in the fourth inning, and the Kewpies took out Kimble after three innings.

With only two losses this season, the Bruins looked primed for a third straight district championship. The Kewpies, on the other hand, have had an up and down season. But Devine said his team still has a shot.

"I have felt all along that if we come out, and we play our game, we can play with anybody," Devine said. 

The Kewpies are set to open the district tournament against TroyBuchanan in a 12:30 p.m. game at Timberland. The winner of that game advances to play top-seed Rock Bridge at 1:30 p.m. May 16.

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