BOONVILLE - The Rams found their stroke Friday afternoon against visiting North Wilkes.
After struggling at the plate in its past few games, Starmount racked up 17 hits en route to a convincing 11-1 six-inning victory over the Vikings, with eight of nine starters collecting a base hit.
Senior Dillon Bray lead the offensive charge with two massive home runs over the right-center fence - his third longball in the past two games - and four runs batted in.
Junior Tanner Mathis racked up two hits and three RBIs, while senior Dillon Dobson collected three hits and came up a home run short of a cycle.
Senior Austin Somers added three more hits with Jeremy Whitaker, Samuel Stone and Hunter Myers driving home runs.
“It was a good performance,” head coach Mike McCann explained. “We finally hit it 1-through-9. We made some adjustments and some changes in the field with some different people out there. We came into practice yesterday and really worked on our swing, broke it down and tried to work with all those kids that were struggling with a new approach. It seemed like they listened to me and trusted me, and it paid off tonight. I’m proud of them. They want to play and they know if they want to play, they’re going to have to hit the ball.
“I knew whenever it happened, the flood gates would open, and that’s what happened - it was just a matter of time,” he added.
Starmount didn’t wait long to get rolling, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
After Dobson smacked a single to right and stole second, Mathis brought him home on a RBI double to left to give the Rams their first run of the game.
Bray followed with his second homer in as many at-bats after he turned on the first pitch he saw and Starmount grabbed a 3-0 advantage.
Two innings later, the Rams tacked on two more runs on consecutive run-scoring singles by Whitaker and Somers to extend the lead to 5-0.
Mathis added another RBI in the fourth to push the advantage to six runs before the Vikings threatened to get back in the game.
After an error and a single put two runners on, North got on the board with a run-scoring single to left to trim the lead to 6-1.
A walk loaded the bases with only one out, but Mathis sat down the next two batters to preserve the five-run lead.
From there, the Rams added insurance runs.
In the fifth, Myers plated Whitaker with a RBI single to get the run back before a four-run sixth ended the game courtesy of the mercy-rule.
Dobson led off the frame with a double to the left-center gap and came around to score on Mathis’ third RBI of the contest.
Bray followed with his second longball to the same spot to give Starmount a 10-1 cushion.
After a pitching change, Whitaker drew a walk and came home to score on a Stone fielder’s choice groundout for the game-clinching RBI.
Mathis picked up the ‘W’ on the mound with six solid innings, limiting the Vikings to just six hits on the afternoon.
“Tanner started off real good and got a little shaky their in the middle,” McCann said. “We got a good lead and we just pitched with a lead, basically pitching to contact and letting our defense make plays. He did a real good job.”
The victory was only Starmount’s second win in its last six games, but improved its record to 5-4 on the season and 5-2 in Mountain Valley Conference action.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.