NEW MARTINSVILLE - On a frosty Tuesday at the George S. Mullett Complex, the Magnolia bats didn't have any problem staying warm.
Coach Dave Cisar's Blue Eagles supported junior left-hander Chandler Sapp's two-hit pitching by pounding on 16 hits - collecting at least three in every inning - while rolling to a 10-0, five-inning victory against rival River.
Kyle Elliott, Nick Wilhoite and Jayson Keller banged out three hits each and combined for five RBI as Magnolia moved its record past the .500 mark to 6-5 while the struggling Pilots fell to 1-9.
Elliott tripled to ignite a three-run rally in the third inning, singled home a run in the fourth and brought an early end to the game with his two-run base knock during the bottom of the fifth inning. All of Wilhoite's hits were singles as he knocked in one run. Keller doubled, singled twice and accounted for one RBI. His sophomore brother, Drew Keller, also had two singles, both of which drove in runs.
''We have been in every game we've played this year and I still say we are better than a 6-5 team," Cisar said. ''Our intensity has been lacking sometimes but we looked pretty good a time or two (Tuesday). We hit the ball really hard and Sapp threw pretty good on the mound. Defensively, we didn't make any errors and that was another plus.''
Sapp walked two, struck out three and faced just three batters in all but two of the innings he was on the mound. He was helped out in the third inning when, following a leadoff walk, Logan Lucas' bid for a single was turned into a 4-6-3 double play after Tanner Hanna made a good pickup of a hard hit ball toward the middle.
''Chandler threw strikes and was around the plate the entire game," Cisar said.
River's only two hits were Brandon Price singles in the first and third innings. Price stole second after leading off the game with a base hit to right. Sapp, however, struck out the next two batters and retired his pitching rival, Jadon Rush, on an infield out.
A walk and Price's single in the third put two runners aboard with just one down. Again Sapp was up to the challenge, striking out Kam Brown for the second and getting Brad Goddard on a weak grounder to third base that Jake Starkey turned into a forceout.
It's been a rough first season for Ed Trifonoff at the helm of the Pilots and Tuesday's loss didn't have him feeling much better.
''We are still making the same mistakes every game," he said. ''We work on game situations and it hasn't helped. I keep thinking that it can't get any worse but it has and with our low (roster) numbers we are running out of options.''
The Pilots kept Magnolia off the scoreboard only during the first inning, although the Blue Eagles loaded the bases on singles by Ryan Walton, Sapp and Wilhoite. With one out, Hanna's one-hopper to the mound was fielded by Rush and turned into a pitcher-to-home-to-first double play.
Jayson Keller's two-out double that carried to the fence in left field was followed by Drew Keller's RBI single that put the Blue Eagles ahead 1-0 an inning later. Walton then got his second hit on a single to center field but Rush ended the threat without further damage when he caught Sapp looking at Strike 3.
Magnolia began opening some daylight with three runs in the third inning. Elliott just avoided a tag and made into third base for a triple to start the rally. Wilhoite then whistled an RBI hit to center, Bentley drove in the next run with a double that just missed going out for a home run and Jayson Keller's single brought him home for a 4-0 lead.
Sapp, after being hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Elliott's fourth-inning single to left. Hanna later singled across the second run of the inning.
In the fifth Brantley Hissom walked, took second on Jayson Keller's third single and scored on Drew Keller's hit. Sapp got credit for a sacrifice fly on a ball that was dropped for a two-base error, putting runners at second and third. Elliott then finished off his 3-for-4 day with the two-run single to left field.