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A.C. Flora’s Rence Best went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and pitcher Davis Rivers went five innings giving up one run on three hits while striking out seven as the Falcons defeated the Hammond Skyhawks 6-1 Tuesday, April 11 on the second day of the Forest Acres Classic.
“Davis was really good,” A.C. Flora head coach Andy Hallett said. “I was really nervous for him because this was his first action on the mound in two weeks. I figured he would struggle with command a lot because he hasn’t pitched in a game in so long. His fastball velocity was really good. He commanded the open side of the plate really well and was able to get five good innings. I was really pleased for him. We played pretty well behind him. It was a good outing for Davis and a good outing for our team.”
Zach Snead and Carew Bates drew walks to start the first inning. Charles Flake Jr. then sent a chopper to third base. Snead beat out the throw to home to put A.C. Flora in the lead. Tyler Hernandez then hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Bates to increase the lead to 2-0.
That score held until the top of the third. Hernandez belted a two-out double to left field. His courtesy runner, Lincoln McCardle, later scored on a wild throw as the Falcons led 3-0.
A.C. Flora added another run in the fourth. Best led off with a walk and later scored on a delayed steal.
Hammond tried to rally in the bottom of the fifth. William Hudson reached base after being hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Wyatt Barrett looped a single to right field, scoring Hudson to trim the deficit to 4-1.
However, that was as close as the Skyhawks would get. The Falcons added a run double from Best in the seventh inning, scoring Hernandez and Evan Smith, to set the final score.
“It was a little here and there, but the two in the first inning were huge,” Hallett said. “That was a really good arm they were facing. He’s going to college for a reason. Being able to go crooked there in the first really helped us to get out in front. Then we get off the field without giving up a run in the bottom half. On the scoreboard they’re chasing that crooked number which always helps. We were able to get a big hit from Rence at the end when we needed it the most. I’m happy to have him back.”
Hernandez went 1-for-2 with an RBI for A.C. Flora. Flake Jr. went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Hammond’s Dylan Richardson threw 4-and-1/3 innings giving up three runs on four hits while striking out four.
Barrett went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI.
“Whenever you are in a pool play the most important thing is to win day one,” Hallett said. “Then when you have an opportunity to go 2-0 it gives you a great opportunity to play tomorrow and know that if you pick up the win you’re going to be 3-0 and playing in the championship. It’s really exciting for us right now. We’re playing well. We’re pitching extremely well. We’re starting to find our way.”
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