Four Hornets combine to throw no-hitter in win over Keith

Published 9:21 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Four Dallas County pitchers combined to no-hit Keith Wednesday in a 13-1 Hornets win.

Gabe Denson, Andre Smith, Octavious Palmer and Paul Daniels threw a total of five innings and totaled 12 strikeouts. On a chilly night in Plantersville, the Hornets’ pitching performance was more than enough to shut down the Bears (0-1), who were playing their first game of the season.

“With the new pitch count and us having to play two more games this week, we are just trying to be more efficient with our pitchers, and I felt like we were able to do that today,” said Dallas County coach Willie Moore.

Email newsletter signup

The Hornets were able to keep all four pitchers under 25 pitches, meaning they are all eligible for the rest of the week when Dallas County plays Greensboro Thursday and Southside Friday. The team was also able to save Caleb Lester, who didn’t pitch Wednesday. Smith helped his own cause in the second inning, hitting a 3-RBI double deep to left field off Keith’s Jim Pettway that put Dallas County up 5-0. Smith scored later in the inning to put the Hornets up 6-0.

“I thought that was a big hit because it seemed like we were struggling getting a key hit, and we were able to get one through and that led to a big inning for us,” Moore said.

Hunter Skinner doubled to left field in the fourth inning to score Smith and Lester to put Dallas County up 8-0. Two at-bats later Palmer bunted to score Trey Vickery to make the score 9-0.

Keith scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth when Tyrone Lumpkin scored on a wild pitch.

“I asked him did he want to go for it and he said yeah,” said Keith coach Anthony Lumpkin. “We are always joking about how slow he is and then he did perfect. He was already in stride when the guy missed the ball.”

Palmer struck out Keith seventh grader Anthony Lumpkin to end the inning before more damage could be done. In the fifth, Smith’s double to right field scored Denson to put the Hornets ahead 10-1. Three more runs scored — Smith, Vickery and Lester — as the Hornets jumped out to a 12-run lead.

Daniels entered in the bottom of the fifth and struck out all three batters he faced to close out the game.

“We really weren’t real crisp as I would’ve hoped we would’ve been, but we were efficient because we didn’t have to throw a lot of pitches,” Moore said.

Wednesday’s game was actually a home game for Keith. The Bears don’t have their own home field, and the field at Bloch Park had a loaded schedule, so the schools worked it out where Dallas County would host but it’d be a Keith home game.

“Bloch Park is so tied up so I got with coach in advance and he said we could play here,” Lumpkin said. “He showed us a lot of hospitality.”

Keith restarted its baseball program last year and the team is hoping to build on a tough first year that didn’t result in a lot of wins. Anthony Lumpkin said he saw progress Wednesday.

“Some of our seniors, they stepped up, keep the guys in the game and their spirits in the game. That’s all you can ask from them,” he said. “It’ll gradually catch up, and we’ll get a couple of wins this year.”

Dallas County plays at Greensboro Thursday, and Keith will play Central Hayneville Tuesday.