LENOX — After 40 minutes in 90-degree heat and sweltering humidity, Murray held an 8-3 lead over Villisca in just the first inning of the Class 1A District 13 quarterfinal game here Tuesday.
The pace of the game gradually picked up, but the Mustang offense continued to stay hot in a 15-hit barrage resulting in a 16-8 victory.
Senior Austin Halls hit his first career home run and drove in three runs on three hits, in addition to finishing up on the mound in relief of winning pitcher Braydon Held.
Catcher Sam Rockhold, nursing a foot injury, contributed two doubles and a single. Leadoff batter Cody Scroggie hit a triple and single and was one of six Mustangs who scored multiple runs in the game.
Held finished with two hits as well, and the Mustangs wore out the basepaths with nine steals in the game. Courtesy runner Matt Barns had three swipes, and Scroggie and Rockhold had two each.
“It was a little ugly at first, but our bats have really been coming alive lately, and it did not change tonight,” said Murray coach Travis Held, whose team improved to 17-8. Villisca bowed out at 9-16.
Braydon Held allowed eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, but threw a lot of pitches with six walks to go with six strikeouts. Halls entered with two outs in the sixth.
“Braydon pitched a decent game,” coach Held said. “We wanted to have him pitch this game to set us up in case we could keep going through. But Austin did an awesome job of coming in and shutting them down.”
Held said Scroggie and Halls would be available for extensive duty against Lenox in Thursday’s semifinal game. The finals are Saturday in St. Marys against Martensdale-St. Marys or Orient-Macksburg.
“We’re going to hit,” Held said. “We just have to clean up the defense.”
Murray 16, Villisca 8
R H E
Villisca 310 021 1 — 8 8 3
Murray 821 113 x — 16 15 3
V: Max Mauderly and Austin Sorensen. M: Braydon Held 6K 6BB, Austin Halls (6) 3K 2BB and Sam Rockhold. W — Held. L— Mauderly. HR — M: Halls. 3B — M: Scroggie. 2B — M: Rockhold 2, Halls. RBI — V: Baldwin 1; M: Halls 3, Corey McCracken 2, Patrick Kilmer 2, Held 2, Daulton Winship 2, Rockhold 1. Multiple hitters — V: Baldwin 2, Sorensen 2; M: Rockhold 3, Halls 3, Scroggie 2, Held 2.