Warren East has started its 2019 baseball season off on the right foot.
Behind a solid pitching performance from Louisville signee Ryan Hawks and an all-around offensive outing, the Raiders earned an 11-4 season-opening win over Grayson County on Monday night at Raider Ballpark.
“It’s always good to get a win,” Warren East coach Wes Sanford said. “Obviously, we didn’t play great but you can’t nitpick this early in the year. If we’re trying to get better everyday, then there’s a lot of stuff we’ve gotta work on.”
Warren East (1-0) trailed 2-1 after two and-a-half innings but scored three runs in the bottom of the second to take a 4-2 lead.
The Raiders later led just 5-4 after five before plating six more runs in the sixth to build a double-digit advantage and didn’t look back.
Hawks — with numerous MLB scouts in attendance — pitched four complete innings for East and recorded seven strikeouts while allowing just one hit, no walks and no earned runs on 63 total pitches.
Nolan Ford and Jonah Vance each finished with two hits, while seven different Raiders recorded RBI.
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“I just had a little power weighted on the ball,” Vance said. “I got some good hits and RBI. It just builds confidence out on the field.”
Leading 4-2 after the second inning, Grayson County used a sacrifice fly from Rain Hawkins to get within 4-3 in the top of the third.
Vance’s RBI single scored Bo Yoakem to make it 5-3, but the Cougars used a Noah Brown single to plate a run and change the scoreboard to 5-4 entering the sixth.
Clinging to a one-run advantage, Warren East put together a dominant frame — scoring six runs to build an 11-4 lead and seal it.
Warren East will return to action Tuesday at home against Allen County-Scottsville. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
“We don’t really know exactly what we’ve got, so we’re gonna try and get everyone in here early in the year and just try and see what everybody can do,” Sanford said. “We’ve gotta figure out who wants it the most.”