Prep baseball: Salisbury 9, Lexington 2
By David Shaw
Guess it wasn’t “Singles Night” at Salisbury High School on Friday.
The Hornets played powerball and hit the jackpot in an important 9-2 win over visiting Lexington.
“I don’t think we’ve touched that many bases in a long time,” outfielder Russell Michalec said after Salisbury (5-13, 4-7 CCC) collected six extra-base hits, including its first four triples of the season. “That was all right.”
So was the pitching of right-hander Forrest Buchanan, who scattered five hits in a complete-game victory, Salisbury’s third in its last four conference games.
“We really needed this one,” Buchanan said after recording seven strikeouts and lowering his ERA to 4.71. “I was mostly just throwing my fastball and letting the defense do the work. They’re solid. That was the key.”
Buchanan was as smooth as a Sunday drive in each inning but the top of the fifth, when he yielded four hits, including Will Hinkle’s RBI single. By game’s end he’d walked only one batter and hit three.
“They got on the plate a little bit,” Salisbury coach Scott Maddox said, “to try to make him pitch away. And he just refused to do that. He kept coming inside and when you do that, you’re gonna hit some people.”Of course, the pitcher’s job is to throw fastballs, not hit them. Buchanan did both, grounding a run-scoring single that tied the score 1-1 in the last of the first and clubbing a two-run homer that made it 6-1 an inning later.
“That home run took a lot out of us,” Lexington coach Sam Mackey said after the Jackets (1-18 overall) fell to 0-11 in league play. “We’re an emotionally driven team, and that drained us. But the kid hit a great shot.”
Buchanan, who whacked a 2-0 fastball from losing pitcher Teland Todd over the center-field fence, is suddenly a .397 hitter.
“He’s for real this year,” said Michalec, who went 2-for-4 with two triples. “He’s not playing around. He hits in that 3-hole and drives in runs for us.”
Salisbury cracked three of its triples during a five-run second inning. Jeremy Forbis got the party started when he lined a 1-2 pitch down the right-field line. Following Philip Tonseth’s sacrifice fly, Michalec and John Knox delivered back-to-back, run-scoring three-baggers.
“It was weird about the triples because John Knox and Forrest Buchanan are in my first-period class and they were looking at the stats this morning,” Maddox said. “They said, ‘We haven’t had a triple all year.’ And John said, ‘I’m gonna get the first one.’ That was just kind of weird because triples are tough to get and we went and got four in one game.”
Buchanan brought Knox home with his second round-tripper of the season.
“I was trying to stay back on the pitch,” Buchanan said. “Coach (Justin) Morgan and Russell have been working with me on staying back. It just keeps me balanced.”
Salisbury extended its lead to 8-1 ó and chased Todd ó in the bottom of the third inning. With two runners on base and one away, reliever Jon Lopp surrendered a bloop single to DH Ryne Maddox and a two-run double to the left-center gap by No. 9 hitter Kyle Wolfe.
The Hornets plated their final run in the last of the sixth when Michalec grounded a leadoff triple down the left-field line and scored on Frankie Cardelle’s two-out single to right.
“We didn’t play bad,” said Mackey, the son of former SHS assistant football coach John Mackey and a one-time Salisbury student. “We’ve just got to get hits when we put runners in scoring position.”
The Hornets had no such problem.
“I hope we can keep doing it,” Michalec said. “This is just one out of four we’ve got to win. The potential is there. Tonight we took a step.”
NOTE: Salisbury is tied for fifth place with Ledford and will visit the Panthers on Tuesday. The league’s top five teams qualify for the playoffs.