An old sports adage is that a team is only as good as its last game. If so, things are going really good for the Thompson High baseball team.
On Monday night, the Warriors became the first team this season to beat nationally ranked Oak Mountain, knocking off the Eagles, 5-3. That win came on the heels over a strong Austin High team and gave the Warriors five victories in their last six games.
“We’re starting to play well,” said Thompson High head coach Pat Hamrick, whose team is 6-5, heading into today’s game at Pelham. “There’s still a lot of competition going on, it’s still early in the season. Anything you do in sports, it comes down, a lot, to confidence. Each game that you go out and perform and you’re able to get a victory, you get a little more confidence.”
Senior Sam Pearce should be carrying around plenty of confidence right now. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound right-hander is coming off a pair of complete game victories on the mound, including last night’s win over Oak Mountain. Against the Eagles, who entered with a 14-0 record, he allowed five hits and three unearned runs while striking out six, walking none and hitting two batters. Last week, during a 7-0 win over Gardendale, he allowed two hits while striking out nine, walking one and hitting one batter.
“He’s not overpowering but he can throw three pitches for strikes,” Hamrick said of Pearce. “He pitches backwards, locates the baseball and throws hard enough that you can’t just sit off speed. He can sneak a fastball by you. Really it’s just being able to throw three pitches for strikes.”
One problem for the Warriors this season has been the lack of timely hits. That wasn’t a problem in Monday night’s win. Right fielder Nick Walker’s two-out, two-run double erased a two-run deficit in the fourth inning. The following inning, first baseman Grayton Arrington broke the tied with a RBI double and catcher Breydon Edmondson followed with a sacrifice fly to build the two-run lead.
Hamrick hopes the timely hitting continues as the Warriors build toward area play.
“We lost (twice) to Helena, both have been against kids who are committed to SEC schools,” Hamrick said. “We’ve faced some good pitching. I think that’s some of the reason we’ve been struggling hitting, is the competition we’ve been going against on the mound. It’s tough but we’ve shown improvements, especially the last week.”