Haynes starting pitcher Cristian Poché was dominant on the mound and drove in a pair of runs as the Yellow Jackets earned a 9-5 nondistrict win over Country Day at Mike Miley Stadium on Tuesday.
“I was just trying to spot my fastball and hit the offspeed pitch when we called it,” Poché said. “I wanted to finish it, but I just couldn’t. It was a good team win because the team put some runs up early to support me. I was just trying to throw strikes.”
Poché earned his third victory allowing one run on two hits in six innings. He walked four, struck out 11 and threw 100 pitches. Poché also went 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored.
“I think he really commanded the fastball well tonight,” Haynes coach Steve Stropolo said. “It was his best pitch. Offensively, we didn’t strike out that much, and that’s the key. We put it in play, and we got some balls to go in for us early. We got on top early, and that made it a lot easier on us.”
The Yellow Jackets (5-3) took advantage of big innings in the third and fifth against Country Day relievers to get the victory.
After Cajuns starter Jake Gitter allowed just one hit over the first two innings, the Yellow Jackets broke through in the third against reliever Charlie Reisman.
Poché opened the inning with a double to left and scored on Charlie Magaw’s single. Reisman made matters worse as he hit Zane Hibbs and walked Dawson Eiserloh to load the bases. Two runs scored on Brian Hinkamp’s grounder to second base to make it 3-0. Hinkamp stole third and scored as the throw sailed into left field for a 4-0 lead.
The Cajuns (3-1) answered in the top of the fourth as Lane Davis and Michael Hickey drew back-to-back walks to open the inning. Gitter’s RBI single, which was Country Day’s first base hit, cut the lead to 4-1. Poché struck out the next three to limit the damage.
Haynes padded its lead in the fifth as the Yellow Jackets loaded the bases with no outs against reliever Jace Griffin and scored single runs as Brandon Garcia and Chandler Woods were hit by a pitch. Poché broke the inning wide open with his two-out, two-run single to make it 8-1. Woods scored on a wild pitch to round out the scoring.
Reisman took the loss, allowing five runs on three hits in two-plus innings. He walked two, hit one batter and struck out four.
Country Day was missing three starters because of the state basketball playoffs but managed to score four runs in the seventh on the Yellow Jackets bullpen.
Davis drew two walks, scored a run and drove in a run, while Blake Masson went 2-for-3. Griffin drove in a run in the seventh while Michael Hickey had a two-run single to set the final score.
Country Day coach Sam Dozier said his team battled.
“This is the first night game against a really good left-hander, and he was better than us tonight,” he said. “They got the momentum with a good pitcher, and it’s tough to come back from that. We had some good at-bats late against their bullpen, so that was a positive.”