Predators open playoffs with two wins
The Predators have started the playoffs just like they ended the regular season winning in dominant fashion.
Fox Creek High School’s (22-2) varsity baseball team picked up two wins, both at home. On Thursday at Riverview Park, the team shut out Great Falls, 10-0, en route to a mercy rule win. Dalton Swires picked up the win on the mound, pitching all five innings. He allowed just one hit and struck out four.
Brent Lacey had a strong day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Terrance Hillary went 2-for-4 and with an RBI and Michael Hill also went 2-for-4.
“The boys just came out ready to play, they’re focused and they’re doing everything we taught them for the first 22 games,” said Wesley Brown, Fox Creek head coach. “I think it goes all the way back to the Ridge Spring game it put them in this position. We lost and it kind of brought them back to reality. They seem to be playing really well. Practices have been awesome.”
Swires, who is just a freshman, was the star of the game. His emergence on the mound has been big for the Predators all year.
“He did great, he only threw 48 pitches in five innings that’s just unheard of,” Brown said. “He got ahead of hitters and he did what he had to. As a freshman it’s hard coming up and not playing with these guys, and he’s not used to having as good of a defense behind him as he has. He just has to learn how to trust them, and the other night he did.”
Lacey, who got the ball in the second game, also put up a sparkling performance against Ware Shoals. Thanks to Chris Duran, who Brown called a “revelation” behind the plate as a catcher, Lacey was able to move back to the mound. Fox Creek won that game, 10-2, and was led on offense by Brandyn Quiller, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Forrest Whitfield went 2-for-3 to also help the cause.
“That means we’ve got another pitcher in the long haul in Brent,” Brown said of Duran’s ability to play catcher. “That’s huge.”
Fox Creek jumped on Ware Shoals early, Brown said, and that allowed them to put the game away quickly.
The two wins mean that Fox Creek will continue to play at home. The next game, which will be played on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Riverview Park, will come against the winner of Ware Shoals and Christ Church, who play a game that was to have happened on Tuesday. The home-field advantage, however, is huge and it means that Fox Creek would have to lose twice in a row to be knocked out of the playoffs.