Hickman’s hitting broke out of a short slump Tuesday when it got a jump-start from its defense.
Seven players drove in runs for the Kewpies as they beat Macon 10-0 at Hickman Field. The game ended because of the mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth inning when Hickman (4-2) opened a 10-run lead.
After managing two hits against Wentzville on Monday, Hickman got started in the second inning after its defense got it out of a difficult situation in the top half of the inning.
Hickman’s batters took advantage of five Macon errors to score six unearned runs. The Kewpies ended the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when Kyle Smith’s sacrifice fly to center drove in Jake Unger to put Hickman ahead by 10 and bring the mercy rule into effect.
After Hickman starter Josh Terry escaped the top of the second, Eric Schultz reached first when Johnny Contratto missed a pop up at first base and scored when Joe Gaboury’s ground ball went through shortstop Dane Carlson’s legs. Chad Hatcher put Hickman up 2-0 when he doubled to the gap in right field and drove in Gaboury.
Tyler Jones reached on Carlson’s second error to lead off the third inning. He stole second and went to third on Smith’s ground out to shortstop.
Blake Tekotte drove Jones in with a single to left field. Tekotte then stole second and went to third on Macon catcher Nathan Orbin’s throwing error. Justin Jackson’s sacrifice fly to right field drove in Tekotte.
Eric Schultz then walked and scored from first when Ryan Nesbitt doubled over left fielder Taylor Oliver’s head to give Hickman a 5-0 lead.
Hickman nearly fell behind in the second inning when Contratto and Justin Lucas opened the second with back-to-back singles, Corey Besgrove reached on a bunt to load the bases with nobody out.
“I was getting a little worried,” said Terry. “I thought something was going to happen there.”
Terry struck out Oliver and got Garret Powell to ground into a double play to end the inning.
“We were able to get out of the bases loaded with no one out and we came back in and we scored,” Hickman coach Kent Fewell said. “If they get a couple hits then we’re down 2-0, 3-0 and they’re up and we’re down.”
Fewell also said the double play was the key to the game and put the momentum in the Kewpies’ favor.
“This game is just who can put the pressure on the other team and who can handle it,” Fewell said. “We handled it right then and put a little pressure on them.”
Hickman’s pitching did not allow a base runner after the double play in the second. Once Hickman got a large lead Terry began to work with his knuckleball to send Macon down in order in the third and fourth innings. Jones made a diving catch in right field to end the fourth.
“I worked on my knuckleball a lot because they want me to use that,” Terry said. “I worked on it in the offseason, but it didn’t work too well today in the cold.”
Lance Rodeman came on in relief in the fifth inning and also benefited from a diving catch. Oliver flared a pitch to center field in the fifth, and Tekotte had to charge toward the infield and lay out to make the catch.
“It helps a lot knowing you have some runs behind you and knowing that you have great defense,” Rodeman said. “If you keep the ball down in this park you’ll be fine.”
Hickman again responded to a good defensive play in the bottom half of the inning.
After Smith led off with a single and Tekotte walked, Jackson drove in his second run of the game with a double off the left field wall.
Schultz followed by driving Tekotte and Jackson in with a single to center to put Hickman ahead 8-0.
The Kewpies stole four bases and never hesitated to run on Orbin.
“The catcher’s arm wasn’t the strongest we’ve seen, and we’ve got a few guys who can run,” Fewell said. “We were just going to run to put a little pressure on them.”
Hickman was coming off a 3-1 loss to Wentzville on Monday in which Schultz’s two hits were the Kewpies’ only offense.
Fewell said he was pleased that the bats broke out against Macon.
“It was a lot better than (Monday),” Fewell said. “We just didn’t do anything offensively … we just wanted to show up and that was about it.”