The Apollo High School baseball team took another step forward Friday night.
The Eagles, playing their sixth game in four days, jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 10-0, five-inning victory over visiting Hancock County at Eagle Park.
Max Holder went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs for Apollo (8-2), which tallied four scores in the bottom of the first inning.
According to Eagles coach Mason Head, however, it wasn’t the early lead that he was pleased with — it was, instead, the complete-game effort from his players.
“It’s an inning by inning thing,” said Head, whose squad won its third consecutive outing. “Yes, it’s great to jump out and get ahead, but that doesn’t mean anything if you lose the second inning. They’ve bought in really well to the idea that the next moment’s the most important moment, regardless if we go up a run or down a run.”
The Eagles added to their advantage with an additional run in the second, followed by four more in the third. Another score in the bottom of the fifth frame sealed the mercy-rule victory.
Tyler Payne earned the pitching win after striking out six batters, walking two and allowing just four hits in the shutout victory. He also helped his own cause at the plate, going 2-for-3 and driving in a pair of runs. Nick Judd added two RBIs and drew three walks, and Harrison Bowman finished with two hits.
Hancock County (4-3) was led by Cole Dixon, who went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Friday’s contest was the first game back for Apollo after going 5-1 at the Keaton Hall Wood Bat Memorial in Bardstown — a finish that saw plenty of growth from the Eagles.
“I was really proud of us earlier this week,” Head said. “We got down a couple times, and they didn’t waver. It was just, ‘Let’s move on and win the next inning.’ ”
Though Apollo is certainly pleased with Friday’s victory, Eagles coaches aren’t worried about the end result at this junction in the season.
“Win, lose — at this point, we’re looking for a style of play right now,” Head noted. “Trying to work kinks out, self-asses, practice, reevaluate, play a good game.
“Come May, that’s going to change a little bit. Winning is going to be the thing. By that point, we hope the kinks will be done and winning will be the primary focus.”
For now, though, the Eagles are simply looking forward.
“The last thing I’ll tell them tonight is ‘You had a really good week. Enjoy it today, enjoy it tomorrow, come to practice on Sunday ready to work,’ ” Head said. “The next moment’s the most important one.”
HANCOCK COUNTY 000-00 — 0-4-3
APOLLO 414-01 — 10-9-2
WP-Payne. LP-Ogle. 2B-Holder (A).