Murico Clark of the Yellowjackets slides into third base. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Max Bartlett didn't want the opportunity to slip away.
With teammates Victor Johnson on third base and Kyle Thrasher on second base with one out in the second inning, Bartlett and the Starkville Yellowjackets were set up nicely to pick up a pair of runs.
Bartlett did his job and drove in Johnson and Thrasher with a two-run single to keep the Jackets rolling offensively against the Yazoo City Indians.
"Somebody had to step up and get it going and Max did," Starkville head coach Danny Carlisle said.
Once Bartlett got his two-run single, the rest continued to fall into place as the Jackets got 10 hits to back up the one-hit pitching performance by Nick Brooks and won a 12-0 decision in five innings at Yellowjacket Field.
Starkville improved to 6-3 overall and it was also the first Class 5A, Region 3, District 4 victory which pleased Carlisle even more.
"We started the division off with a win and that's huge," Carlisle said. "You don't want to fall behind in division play and I thought we played extremely well."
In the second inning, Tanner Clanton singled and Murico Clark drove him home with a double. Clark came home on a single by Johnson.
Kyle Thrasher followed Johnson's single with a walk, then Harper Day executed a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third.
Despite going down two strikes in his at-bat, Bartlett delivered the single to give the Jackets the 4-0 lead.
"When I get two strikes, I get on the plate and put the ball in play," Bartlett said. "You've got to put the ball in play."
Starkville added to its lead in the third inning with five runs on two hits. Johnson started the inning with a solo home run, then the Jackets were helped by the wildness of Yazoo City pitcher Tre Richardson to build an 11-0 advantage.
Bartlett was confident that Brooks was going to benefit from pitching with the lead.
"When Nick started out throwing strikes, I knew we would be in good shape," Bartlett said.
Brooks did not give up a hit to the Indians until Josh Cooper roped a double in the fourth inning. He struck out five, but did issue the same number of walks.
"He lost his arm slot one time, threw nine balls in a row and gave up three two-out walks, but he came back and that was good," Carlisle said. "He was sharp other than that."
Even though Brooks didn't allow a run, he wasn't happy that his control wasn't where it should have been.
"There are some things to work on," Brooks said. "I do want to finish my innings strong. I want to start them strong, finish them strong, help my team and give us a chance to win."
Starkville scored one final time when Daniel Murphee came home in the fourth inning on a wild pitch.
Nathan Pugh had three singles to lead the Jacket hitting attack, while Bartlett added two singles. Johnson had a single to go with his homer and Clark's double was the other extra base hit.
"We hit the ball well even though we did take some called third strikes that was kind of upsetting, but overall I thought we played well and I was proud of them," Carlisle said.
Yazoo City, which fell to 2-6, hosts Starkville on Friday with varsity action beginning at 3 p.m.
The Jackets return home Saturday with games against Louisville at 12:30 p.m. and West Point at approximately 4 p.m.
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