The Franklin County Flyers finally got that first win of the season.
After blowing a three-run lead heading into the seventh, FCHS answered in the bottom of the inning with senior Ben Sands scoring on freshman Ryan Staples’ grounder for a walk-off 6-5 win over Lexington Christian Academy Monday night at FCHS.
“Chasing that first one it’s always tough,” FCHS coach Kevin Goins said.
The Flyers (1-5) have had a rough go of it so far this season, facing a tough schedule, battling injuries and dealing with some inexperienced players.
“You could just kind of see the confidence level creeping up in our guys,” Goins said.
“We finally had a lively dugout, we finally had a total team effort. ... I hope it continues.”
Up 5-2 entering the seventh, the Flyers quickly saw that lead disappear after senior Cody Kalinowski hit a two-run homer and senior Graham Smith hit an RBI double for the Eagles (3-3).
But FCHS answered in the bottom half of the inning.
Sands was hit by a pitch to lead things off and moved to third on two wild pitches. Staples then followed with a grounder to junior Frederick Rupp at third. With Sands going home on contact, Rupp fired to Smith at the plate. Smith caught the ball and tagged Sands, but the ball fell out of Smith’s glove and Sands was safe.
“I want these guys to be aggressive. I can’t fault him,” said Goins, who added that he told Staples to only go on contact in the hole. “It wasn’t the best judgement call, but sometimes the baseball karma is a good thing and it worked out for us.”
Senior Quenton Brownlee started and gave up five runs on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks in 6 1/3 innings for the Flyers.
He gave up three of those runs and three of those hits in the seventh before senior Michael Hurt threw two strikeouts sandwiched around an intentional walk to get out of the two-on-with-one-out jam and eventually record the win.
“Quenton is our big dog and of course we’re going to ride him as far as we can,” Goins said. “The pitch count got up.”
Brownlee also had a nice game at the plate, tripling to center field before hitting a two-out, two-run homer off the scoreboard in left-center field in the fifth to cap a three-run inning for FCHS. Prior to Brownlee’s homer, Staples doubled before senior lead-off hitter Rylan Rowe hit his second single to bring Staples home. Senior Alex McKinney added an RBI single in the fourth.
“The top two guys in our lineup are really carrying us right now,” Goins said of Rowe and Brownlee, who went a combined 4 for 6 with three RBIs and four runs scored. “Quenton’s home run was huge at that time.”
Junior Ty Stevens suffered the loss in relief for the Eagles, allowing one run on no hits with a strikeout. Kalinowski and juniors Robbie Stephens and Drew Schacht all had two hits at the plate.
FCHS hosts Bethlehem today at 6 p.m. before playing in the McDonalds Classic Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Harrison County.