Timely hits late into the contest lifted West Jones past Taylorsville Friday night in Soso.
Trailing 3-2, the Mustangs shelled out seven hits in the fifth and sixth inning to score six runs and defeat the Tartars 8-3.
"I wasn't real pleased with how we played in those first two or three innings," said West Jones head coach Trey Sutton. "We stung some balls, and [Taylorsville] made plays. They also got hits with runners on and took advantage of a couple of our mistakes early.
"But I told our guys I was proud of how they [responded]. A baseball game is seven innings, and it might not go great early on, but they stuck to what we were trying to do and started to swing it a lot better."
Taylorsville pulled ahead early on a timely hit in the first inning and two Mustang errors in the third that added two additional runs.
“We hang our hat on pitching and defense,” said Sutton. “We had a couple of [mistakes] early on that hurt us.”
West Jones cut Taylorsville’s lead to one, 3-2, in the bottom frame of the third on a two-out RBI single by Lawson Odom and a Taylorsville error in the following at-bat.
Then came the combined six runs in the fifth and sixth inning for the Mustangs to complete the comeback and more. Hits with two runners in scoring positions did the most damage in the fifth and sixth frames. Three timely hits in those innings scored all six runs.
West Jones' two, three, and four-hole hitters (Dakota Smith, Lawson Odom, and Jaxon Rayborn) combined for eight of the Mustangs' 13 hits.
"Those guys are at the top and middle of our order for a reason," said Sutton. "They're guys that we feel like are good hitters, obviously. They put together some good at-bats, especially late in the game."
Rayborn began the contest on the mound for West Jones, lasting three innings while giving up one earned run on three hits.
"It was a dog fight tonight," said Sutton. "I'm looking at my chart, and they're having eight, nine, ten pitch at-bats all game, and that's a credit to them. Taylorsville made it hard on us. Rayborn ground through three innings for us. He didn't have his best stuff, but part of that was what [Taylorsville] was doing. They had several guys with over eight pitches, which is outstanding on their part."
Caleb Flynn entered in relief, pitching four complete innings and giving up just one hit.
"Flynn came in and did a really good job for us," Sutton said. "He came in relief, had runners all over the place, and threw up a zero."
Rayborn and Flynn combined for seven strikeouts.
West Jones begins district play on March 21 against Brookhaven at home.
"We like the arms that we have," said Sutton. "We feel like everyone we run out there will give us a chance to win every night, and we feel like we play good defense. I say it often, but pitching and defense are what we've always hung our hats on. At the plate, we've been gradually progressing. We still have a lot of young guys that are learning, but it's about growing as we go and playing our best ball in May."