Corns helps himself to initial win
By Bob Bellone
Senior Staff Writer
SEFFNER – Justin Corns figured heavily in his first mound victory of the season Wednesday night. The Armwood junior allowed only three hits in six-plus innings and had two of his own in a 3-1 triumph against Middleton.
All of the scoring came in the third inning. Middleton (3-10) went up with an unearned run in the top half. Tigers starting pitcher Marques Smith reached on a two-out error, advanced two bases on a Ricardo Garcia single and raced home while Garcia was surviving a rundown between first and second.
Armwood (5-12) collected three of its four hits in the non-district matchup in the home third. With two down and runners on the corners, Corns delivered the deciding runs with a double. Jacob Johns provided the insurance run with a single off Smith, making his first start of the season.
“I knew if I got a fastball there, I was just going to go with it,” said Corns, who also singled and stole a base in the first inning.
“I’m glad I got the runs in. It gave me some breathing room on the mound, and I could pitch with the lead, which is a lot better than pitching behind.”
When Corns approached his pitch-count limit with one out in the seventh, fellow left-hander Sam Simmons took over and secured the save with the final two outs.
Hawks coach Bobby Mondoux, with three victories in four games since a 2-11 start, is encouraged.
“The young guys have seen enough to where we expect them to start producing,” he said. “Guys are finally starting to set up. We’re starting to see our team average rise. We’re starting to see more balls put in play. It’s a great thing.”
In contrast, Middleton has lost five consecutive games and nine of its last 10, but coach Mark Whiten is looking ahead.
“To me, all of this stuff is just a setup for the district,” he said. “If you get them ready and get them mentally ready, hopefully they’ll play better when it comes to the end.”
M 001|000|0 – |1|4|1
A 003|000|0 – |3|4|1
W – Corns (1-4); L – Smith; S – Simmons (1).
2B – Corns (A). Records – M (3-10); A (5-12).