Top-ranked Wildcats rip and roar against Irmo

Nationally ranked Lexington opens season with a blowout of Irmo

Special to The StateMarch 4, 2013 

— Lexington opened what it hopes will be a memorable baseball season on Monday with a six-inning, 10-0 non-region victory against Irmo.

The Wildcats, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 4A and No. 5 nationally by Collegiate Baseball, are off until heading to Georgetown on Thursday as the defending champion of the International Paper Classic.

“It’s good to get the opening win out of the way,” Lexington coach Brian Hucks said. “There wasn’t as much offense as we wanted, but we were able to create some runs with good base running and by just putting the ball in play consistently.”

Lexington broke a scoreless tie with six runs in the third inning with the aid of three hits — two of the infield variety. The Wildcats made use of every base runner, blending the three hits with two walks, two Irmo errors and a sacrifice fly.

The big blow was a two-run single by David Barboza, who added a double in his final at-bat in the fifth.

The Wildcats ended the game early with a four spot in the sixth. The outburst began and ended with triples by Dalton Addy and Cody Smith. Smith’s bases-loaded hit to the left-center field fence closed it out.

Hucks was pleased with the pitching. Three hurlers combined to limit the Yellow Jackets to one hit.

Reece Burnett got the start and the win and had relief help from Elliott Lance and eighth-grader Chase Williamson. Lance and Williamson combined for six strikeouts. Lance had three in his 12/3-inning stint, and Williamson struck out the side in the sixth in his varsity debut.

“Reece and Elliott are both going to close games for us and get some starts, and we’re real excited about Case because he’s an 83-84 (mph) guy already and has a bright future,” Hucks said.

Irmo, which went 2-1 at the Carolina Ale House Classic preseason tournament, had the look of a young, inexperienced team.

“We only have three seniors, and only one played regularly,” Yellow Jackets coach Ray Canady said. “No matter how experienced or inexperienced you are, you can’t afford to make mistakes against a team the caliber of Lexington. We had an opportunity to get out of the third inning, but we didn’t make a play and things got a out of hand.”

Irmo’s lone hit was an infield single in the second inning by catcher Zach Grainger.

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