By Bobby Mathews, Sports Editor
LEEDS — Leeds catcher Jarod Latta took a wild pitch on a ball four and advanced to second when the ball spun into the Green Wave dugout, scoring a run, and then Latta scored one batter later as part of a three-run rally in the fifth inning to help his team to a 8-5 victory over Shades Valley on Saturday, February 19.
That inning — the fourth — was what put Leeds on top for good in a game that saw early-season nerves for both teams as they traded leads throughout the first few innings.
Lefty hurler Dax Phillips pitched four innings for the win, giving up four runs, striking out four and walking two batters. In his final inning on the mound, Phillips really found his rhythm and shut out the Mounties.
“I was a little nervous,” Phillips said afterward. “It was my first start with this team. They were jumping on the fastball, so I thew some off-speed, and a lot of them were quick, so we had to get them out fast.”
Alex Bradford pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and Will Landers got the save, giving up one run in the seventh inning. Bradford also scored twice for Leeds, as did Devin Sanders.
“We came into today ready to see some of our guys, see what they could do on the mound,” Leeds skipper Jake Wingo said. “They came in, threw strikes, and I thought our defense played well behind them. At the plate we’ve still got to get some things cleaned up, but our competitive spirit was there. We competed hard. It was an up-and-down game, and I’m just glad we came out on top of it.”
The win brought Leeds to .500 for the season, as the Green Wave dropped its first game of the season to Mortimer Jordan on Friday, February 18 by a margin of 6-1.