Salem pitcher Ryan Read didn’t need much help from his offense Monday afternoon against visiting Lithonia, but the senior hurler got it anyway as Reed and the Seminoles blasted their way to an 11-1 victory in non-region action.
Read gave up just one run in the opening frame while the Seminoles scored two or more runs in three different innings, highlighted by a three-run blast from first baseman Akil Baddoo in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Salem finished with six hits while Read allowed just three base knocks, improving the Seminoles’ record to 4-4 overall with region play looming.
Salem coach Chad Kitchens said a team effort was needed to best the Bulldogs and that’s exactly what the Seminoles got as five different players picked up a hit in the win.
“Everyone chipped in tonight throughout the line-up, but I think Akil stole the show with the long home run,” Kitchens said. “That ball was way up in the trees. It was nice to see all the guys come together and have a good outing as we start to get out of non-region play.”
With the Seminoles leading 6-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, Salem’s Jason Howell reached base with a lead-off single and Jordan Johnson drew a walk to put runners at the corners after Howell stole second and reached third on a balk.
With a 3-1 county, Baddoo blasted a shot over the right field fence through the tree line behind the ball park, pushing Salem’s lead to 9-1 with one out.
A Lithonia throwing error allowed Rocky Mauriello to reach base, right fielder Cole Gibson drew a walk and the Seminoles’ Braxton Hogan reached base on an infield single, loading the bases as Salem reached the top of its line-up.
Salem’s big hitters didn’t disappoint, bringing in a run on a Yorel James’ sacrifice fly to the warning track before Kevin Barham brought home the walk-off run on an infield hit that ended with a collision at first base. When the dust cleared, Barham was called safe at first and Hogan touched home for the game-ending score, securing the Seminoles’ fourth win of the season.
Read finished with eight strikeouts in five innings, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk.
“Ryan has been a steady pitcher for us for four years,” Kitchens said. “He had Tommy John Surgery between his sophomore and junior seasons and he’s had to really work hard to come back and get back in shape. To come out and be as successful as he has been is a testament to how hard he’s worked.”
The Bulldogs struck first in the opening frame, scoring right fielder Allen Morgan with a Rico Bruton sac-fly.
Salem got the run back in the bottom of the frame, tying the game at 1-1 with a Jordan Scott single up the middle that plated Ndiayemon Harrison.
After allowing a walk and a hit in the first, Read settled down, giving up just one hit while striking out six Bulldogs from the second to fourth innings.
While Read was dazzling on the mound, Salem added three runs in the third, the first coming on a Scott single to right before Scott touched home on a passed ball that extended Salem’s lead to 3-1. The Seminoles knocked in their final run of the frame on a Read groundout to shot, plating Howell after the designated hitter took second and third on back-to-back passed balls.
Salem added a pair of runs in the second, the first thanks to the swift feat of Baddoo. Baddoo led off the inning with a walk and advance to second on a Mauriello bunt before taking third on another Lithonia passed ball. With Harrison at the plate, Baddoo stole home, reaching base safely after Harrison knocked a grounder to the Bulldogs’ shortstop.
A James’ groundout brought in Gibson and Salem held a 6-1 advantage before its five-run fifth frame.
Lithonia threatened in the fifth, putting their first two batters one base with a single and an error in the outfield, but Read ran through the rest of the Bulldogs’ line-up, forcing an out on a bunt before recording a strikeout and a groundout that ended Lithonia’s threat.
Scott finished with a 2-of-3 performance at the plate with two RBIs while Baddoo finished 1-for-1 with three RBIs, two walks and two runs scored.
Lithonia starter Juston Wiggins picked up the loss on the mound, giving up six runs on three hits and four walks in four innings of work.
Salem returns to action Tuesday against MLK in a make-up of last week’s rained out contest.