GARY | If a walk is as good as a hit, this was a case where that hit was always good enough for extra bases.
While true hits were scarce both ways, Lew Wallace took advantage of walks, errors and wild pitches to defeat city rival Roosevelt 14-4 in five innings on Saturday afternoon in a McDonald's RailCats High School Challenge game at U.S. Steel Yard.
Wallace pitchers Carey Moore and Derek Edwards combined to no-hit the Panthers, whose offense came on 12 walks, three balks and two Wallace errors.
The Hornets (1-1) scored five runs in the first inning with one hit sandwiched between six Roosevelt errors.
For the game the Panthers (0-1), playing their first game of the season, made 12 errors and close to that many wild pitches.
Wallace stole base 11 times, turning four walks and three hit batsmen into scoring threats along with those who reached on fielding miscues.
“We just watched the pitcher, and when he was about to wind up, we just took off,” Wallace second baseman Calvin Cooper said. “And they weren’t trying to pick us off so we kept stealing.”
Cooper had one of Lew Wallace’s three hits, a legitimate triple to deep left center. He scored on the next at-bat to put the Hornets up 6-1.
Coach Al Williams needs more students like Cooper to come give the sport a try. Cooper had never played a lick of baseball before this spring.
“I never even played outside with my brothers or anything,” Cooper said. “I always sat back and watched. Now I’m having a lot of fun.”
Cooper scored twice, as did teammates Richard Span, LeAndre May and Edwards.
“We’ve still got lots of work to do,” Hornets coach Al Williams said. “This team has a lot of speed, but I wish we could get more younger guys to play. This is a great opportunity to play on a field like this every year.”
Only one of the first seven Wallace runs was earned, as starter Crivantai Romer struck out six in four innings.
The Hornets erupted for seven runs off of three Panthers relievers in the bottom of the fifth to walk off with their first win.
“They just had first-game jitters,” Roosevelt coach Kevin Bradley said. “If we tighten up our defense and stop letting the ball get past us, we’ll be OK.”