The THS Diamond Dogs fell to the Evans Knights, 3-2, in their season opener at home.
“What I’m most pleased with in this game is that our guys didn’t lay down when they were behind,” head coach Aaron Hall said following the game. “They had a chance to lay down and give up, and they didn’t. They’re a young group of kids who fought back and made a game of it.”
Starting pitcher Andy Grimaud pitched a strong six innings, giving up two runs in the first but then settling down and holding the Knights scoreless for the next five innings. Gerard Hollimon and Hank Doupe also saw time on the mound in the seventh inning.
Strong pitching from Evans held the Diamond Dogs scoreless through the first five innings. A Josh Jones single to right field to lead off the sixth, followed by a steal of second base, ignited the Dogs’ offense for the first time in the game.
“Coach Hall told me to get it started when I went in to lead off the sixth,” Jones said after the game. “I got behind by two strikes, and that’s when you just have to hit the ball. I had already figured out their pitcher’s curve ball, and when he threw me another I just trusted my hands and got the hit.”
Hank Doupe followed Jones onto the bases, reaching first on a walk.
Grimaud drove a double deep into center field to drive in Jones for the Dogs’ first run of the game. An Austin Cooper sacrifice allowed Doupe to reach home and gave the Dogs their second run for the night.
“Coach told me to hit the ball hard,” Grimaud said of his hit following the game. “They threw me an outside fast ball, and I just did what Coach said and hit it hard.”
The Dogs still trailed 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh, but they were unable to generate hits, and that’s where the score stood at the end of the game.
“Andy (Grimaud) did a good job on the mound tonight,” Hall said following the game. “As a pitching staff we have to learn to finish innings. We did a good job on the whole, made a few errors but nothing that really hurt us. Andy had a good six innings, Holliman did what I wanted him to do in the seventh, and once Doupe settled down he pitched real well. But on offense we just had too many strikeouts looking.”
The Diamond Dogs fell to Effingham on Saturday as part of Evans Diamond Days, and faced Lincoln County at home on Tuesday. They travel to Lincoln County today for an away game, and will be home Friday night to face Lakeside. Game time is 6 p.m.