Fifth-inning hitting spree pushes Hickman baseball team past Southern Boone

Thursday, March 22, 2012 | 9:56 p.m. CDT; updated 6:39 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Hickman Kewpies' pitcher Garrett Dishinger throws against Southern Boone in their season opener on Thursday at Hickman Field.

COLUMBIA — Watching senior pitcher Sam Wright was a good indication of how the Hickman baseball team's season opener against visiting Southern Boone went Thursday.

Because he wasn't pitching, Wright had plenty of time to watch the game.

While the Kewpies were ahead 2-0 for the first three innings, he calmly wiped baseballs clean with a towel, ate sunflower seeds and jokingly pointed to center field and yelled "That way!" at his teammates when they hit long foul balls.

When Southern Boone scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game, he stood up, expressionless, with empty hands and folded arms. 

At one point, the umpire had to ask him to move back into the dugout.

But when senior shortstop Jake Alexander rounded third base and scored the Kewpie's third run of the game off of sophomore Colby Fitch's single, Wright was the first one out of the dugout to congratulate him. The run was the first of three the Kewpies scored in a four-hit fifth inning to earn a 5-2 victory.

The Kewpies' winning hits came after two errors cost them the lead in the top of the fifth. A bad throw off of a sacrifice bunt allowed Southern Boone's runners to advance to second and third base, and a bad throw from third to first base during the next at-bat allowed both runners to score.

"Jake and I both made errors back-to-back to end the last inning, and that led to them tying the ballgame," Fitch said. "So we had that fire lit, and we came back swinging and wanted the comeback and worked hard for it and got it."

The Kewpies' fifth inning tear wasn't the only key to their late-game victory. Hickman used four pitchers throughout the game and struck out 12 batters. Five of the strikeouts came from Garrett Dishinger, who only pitched for 1 2/3 innings.

Fitch came in to relieve Dishinger and pitched the last two outs of the seventh inning. He struck out the final batter, combining with Dishinger to strike out five of the last six batters.

"Coach is just switching up the pitching rotation a lot so the batters on the other team don't see the same pitcher again. So it's always keeping them on their feet and guessing," Fitch said.

After the Kewpies' hiccup in the top of the fifth, Hickman coach Dan Devine Jr. said he didn't need to do much to get the team refocused. 

"When you coach a group of guys that are pretty motivated, you don't have to say anything to them," Devine said. "The guys that were coming up were the guys we depend upon. They're our best hitters, so we let them go and hit and they did."

The Kewpies play next against Francis Howell North at 4 p.m. Monday in the Midwest Classic at Francis Howell North.

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