By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
HONAKER, Va. —
Playing for a traveling team throughout the off-season Austin Kiser said he learned a lot about pitching.
He learned a little about hitting, too.
Kiser’s loud home run in the first sent Honaker on its way to a 10-0 win over Grundy in five innings in Black Diamond District play Tuesday at Harding Field.
The Tigers scored in every inning beginning with Kiser’s two-run line drive shot over the center field fence. Hunter Lester made a spectacular play behind second base for a flawless Honaker defense and MaKenzie Phillips tossed a one-hitter as the Tigers improved to 4-0 on the year.
Phillips faced just two batters over the minimum. He struck out eight, walked just one and allowed just two balls out of the infield in his first start of the season.
“The one hit he gave up was a bad hop,” veteran Honaker coach Tom Harding said of his junior hurler. “He had a five-pitch inning and the last inning he had an eight-pitch inning. I got to be really happy with that.
“We’ve had good pitching and we’ve played defense pretty well, too. That play at second (by Lester) was as good a play from an infielder and I’ve seen on this field.”
Lester robbed Daniel Tiller of a hit in the fourth with a diving, bare-handed grab behind second base. He made a strong off-balance throw from the ground to retire the Grundy sophomore as he fell away from first base.
The Tigers had just two extra-base hits, Payton Ball’s towering triple off the fence in left-center and Kiser’s blast that landed on the hill behind center field.
“He’d thrown me a couple of curves and I thought he was going to throw a fastball,” Kiser explained. “I was going to try to fight it off, but he threw it right down the middle.”
Kiser spent several months playing for the Carolina Canes, a showcase team that travels throughout the mid-Atlantic region. It has obviously helped his entire game.
Kiser said, “It helped me a lot, especially with pitching.”
A Grundy team that starts four sophomores and a freshman saw its three-game winning streak end. Jordan McCoy had the only hit for the Golden Wave (3-3), an infield single in the third.
Charles “Bub” McCoy took the loss. The hard-throwing sophomore struggled with his control, walking seven batters, including four in the second, when the Tigers scored three runs without the benefit of a hit.
Grundy coach Scotty Bostic said, “Bub didn’t have the control he usually does and when they get a runner on they always make them count..”
Honaker DH Travis Price had the only multi-hit game, with two singles in three at-bats.
at Tom Harding Field
Grundy.........000 00 — 0 1 1
Honaker.......231 4x — 10 8 0
C. McCoy and Cole. Phillips and Mitchell. W- Phillips (1-0). L-C. McCoy (0-2). HR-Kiser (H) 1st, 1 on.