After its worse home loss of the season Monday, Hickman was looking for some offensive production Wednesday against Southern Boone.
The Kewpies found it in Justin Jackson, whose two home runs, including a grand slam, led Hickman to a 9-3 win at Hickman Field.
Jackson’s grand slam came with two out in the second inning with the game tied at 2.
Blake Tekotte hit a solo home run in the first inning, so it didn’t surprise Hickman coach Kent Fewell when Southern Boone chose to intentionally walk Tekotte to pitch to Jackson in the second.
“I figured that’s what they were going to do,” Fewell said. “They walked Tekotte whenever they had the chance.”
Southern Boone pays for intentional walk
Southern Boone starter Dusty Weter hung a curveball and Jackson made him think twice about walking Tekotte again.
“The wind was blowing out pretty hard today, so I didn’t have to do much,” Jackson said. “We needed to get on top; we needed something to spark us.”
Jackson added a solo home run to left-center against reliever Travis Craig in the fifth to give the Kewpies a 9-2 lead.
“(Jackson’s) had a lot of clutch hits for us, more than anyone on the team,” Fewell said. “The pressure’s going to be on him all year long. He’s just going to have to respond.”
Jackson and Joe Goboury hit consecutive doubles after Tekotte’s home run, giving the Kewpies a 2-0 lead.
Kewpies leave 11 runners on base
Despite the early lead, Hickman stranded 11 runners. Matt Schwartz made the final out with two runners on in the first and second innings, and Jackson struck out with the bases loaded in the third.
Fewell said he wanted to end the game earlier with a few clutch hits, but he got to use more pitchers through seven innings.
Zach Heath pitched the first three innings for Hickman and allowed two unearned runs.
After two walks in the second inning, both runners scored when shortstop Kyle Smith booted a ground ball and Eric Schultz could not handle Smith’s throw to first base.
“I was getting nervous again,” Jackson said. “We had a chance to get out with no runs, and then we had the error, and we came out 2-2 in the second inning.”
Mueller solid in relief for Kewpies
Lucas Gilpin’s home run in the sixth was the only hit Hickman’s Andrew Mueller gave up in three innings of relief. Mueller settled down and struck out the next three batters to finish his outing.
“I just hung a curveball,” Mueller said. “Other than that one ball I felt good. I got the adrenaline pumping.”
Chad Hatcher pitched a perfect seventh inning. The Kewpies pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts.
Hickman (8-6) widened its lead with two runs in the fourth. Gaboury and Eric Schultz walked to open the inning. Matt Schwartz moved Gaboury to third with a fielder’s choice, and Casey McIntosh’s ground ball scored Hickman’s seventh run.
Hatcher then singled to center to drive in Schwartz and make the score 8-2.