Jackson Blakely, star pitching ace for the Upson-Lee Knights, took the mound on March 6 for the game against Rock Springs Christian Academy.
Prior to the game, Coach Eddie Peyton informed Blakely that he would be pitching for much of the game, and remarked after the game that it was Blakely’s first time this season to really stretch out.
Blakely delivered with three strikeouts to set the tone for the night.
In the bottom of the second, the Knights struck first. After Walker Stevens was struck by a pitch, Beau Ellington picked up an RBI double. Trae Jones added another RBI to his already fantastic season to bring Ellington home and give the Knights a two-run lead.
Blakely racked up two more strikeouts in the top of the third, and the Knights added to the lead in the bottom of the inning. Jackson Wells advanced to first off a bunt, and Campbell Hinson was hit by a pitch. Jax Harrison picked up a two-RBI double to bring them both home. Walker Stevens ripped a single, and an Eagles’ error allowed Harrison to score.
Blakely continued to dominate from the mound. He earned two strikeouts in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth, before going “scorched earth” with three up, three down in the final two innings to give the Knights a 5-0 victory.
Blakely earned 15 strikeouts on the night, gave up no walks, and allowed just two hits.
“He’s a special kid,” Peyton commented after the game. “I’m more proud that he threw a 78-pitch complete game. He’s not afraid to challenge hitters. For him to only throw 78 pitches and strike out 15, that’s pretty good. That means he’s throwing a lot of strikes.”
Colby Hemphill had a tough task, to follow such an outing, the following night. The Knights welcomed Crawford County to Silvertown. The Eagles came into the game 9-2 on the season and proved to be a potent force.
Hemphill only gave up one walk on the night. However, the Eagles earned seven hits. The biggest number, and a padlock state in baseball, were five errors the Knights accumulated on the evening. Crawford scored six runs off those errors and pulled away to a 6-1 victory at the end of seven.
“Colby pitched great. We just didn’t make plays behind him,” Peyton said. “Their pitcher is really, really good, probably the best guy we’ve seen this year. So, when the other team's pitcher is doing really great, it’s going to be a pitchers’ duel. It’s going to be a dogfight, and when our pitchers are pitching well and their pitchers are pitching well, you’ve got to make plays behind them. We had five errors tonight. We just have to get better.”
The Knights hosted Schley County on Monday, March 13, and travel to Taylor County on Friday, March 17. Results from those games will be available in next week's edition of The Upson Beacon.
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