By Will Johnson
ELKHART – Elkhart Elk Bryson Adair threw seven innings of two-hit ball as the Elks shut out the visiting Westwood Panthers by a score of 9-0 on Friday, March 15.
Adair was on fire as opened up the game by retiring six of the first seven batters he faced. In the first inning, Adair forced Tyler Johnson to pop-up to short, walked James Meadows got Nathan Cheatham to ground into a fielder’s choice at second and then caught Kylance Parish looking at strike three to end the inning.
Jasen Hollingsworth got the nod for the Panthers and was equally as effective as Adair. Hollingsworth retired Zerrick Warren on a pop fly to center, hit Cole Evans with a pitch, coaxed a fly ball out of Adair and got Landry Mays to ground into a 6-3 force to end the first inning of play.
The second inning was more of the same from Adair as he retired the side in order. He got Haden Andrews to fly out to left, enticed Luke Williams to swing at strike three and forced Dalton Brooks to ground out.
Once again, Hollingsworth matched Adair on the mound. Brady Johnson led off with a fly ball out to right field and then Hollingsworth forced Brooks Torma to ground out. Jon Michael Mahon was up next but was hit by a pitch on 2-1 count.
Mahon promptly stole second but that was as far as he got as Conner Walker flew out to center field to end the second.
Adair ran into a little trouble in the top of the third, but was able to work his way around it. He hit Nolan Kelly to open the inning and then gave up a single to Hollingsworth. Fortunately, he caught Johnson looking at strike three and followed that up with a called third strike on Meadows.
Two pitches later, Kelly was caught stealing third to end the Panther threat.
When the Elks came in to bat in the third inning, they finally broke into the scoring column. Hunter Evans drew a walk to lead off the frame and moved to second on an outfield error on a Warren fly ball.
Cole Evans was up next and laid down a bunt. Hunter Evans got hung up in a run-down but eventually scored while Warren was thrown out at third. Cole Evans, however, did manage to work his way to third on the play.
Adair was up next and hit one just deep enough for C. Evans to tag up, score and give the Elks a 2-0 lead.
Mays followed in the lineup and singled past short. He stole second and took third on an error. Two pitches later, a passed ball brought him home to push the Elkhart lead to 3-0.
After Hollingsworth retired Johnson to end the inning, Adair was back on the bump. After an error allowed Cheatham to reach, Adair slammed the door on the Panthers as he struck out the side to close out the top half of the fourth.
Elkhart was also quiet in the bottom of the fourth but struck for three more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings as they cruised to the 9-0 District 20-3A win over the Westwood Panthers.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.