By Corey B. Elliot
SPEEDWAY — The Tri-West Bruins came out on the winning side of last Saturday morning’s baseball matchup with the Speedway Sparkplugs, 8-1.
The Bruins (6-5) and Sparkplugs (8-3) were both struggling to find their rhythm at the plate until a five-run fourth inning lifted the Bruins past Speedway in what would eventually be the deciding moment of the game.
The Bruins were up 1-0 in what was shaping up to be a struggle for both teams at the plate after junior Austin Lynn struck out with the bases loaded, stranding the runners on base. But the fourth inning was a different story when senior Dustin Burks sparked a momentum swing that favored Tri-West after he sent Speedway pitcher Quentin Billington’s pitch off the leftfield fence.
An impressive inning at the plate for the Bruins was an improvement coach Ryan Oppy was expecting to see.
“I think the fourth inning was the momentum shifter,” Oppy said. “We got some timely hits and waited back on some pitches. Our guys are doing something with the ball again and it’s nice to see everyone keeping their confidence up and hitting the ball well.”
From that point on, it was Tri-West’s game to lose. Both teams were coming off Friday night games, but Speedway was on the back end of a rigorous stretch in its schedule, playing its fourth game in less than 48 hours.
Speedway, despite having a solid season thus far, was struggling to find rhythm at the plate.
“Our bats were just bad today,” Speedway coach Marcus McCormick said. “We had a couple of guys that didn’t perform and baseball is contagious. Tri-West is a good baseball team and they hit the baseball real well. Their seven, eight and nine guys, we couldn’t get them out.”
Saturday’s performance will be a game Oppy will likely look back on to encourage his team through the rest of the regular .
The approach was improvement for the Bruins as they pushed their record to above .500 on the season by beating a quality team over .500.
“We improved greatly on our mental approach,” Oppy said. “This is our fourth game in three days and we were prepared. We talked about the mental approach to the game and coming prepared for the game and they showed up ready to play from the beginning. Going forward, I want to see the same approach and the same enthusiasm in the dugout, relying on each other and playing as a team.”