MOUND BAYOU — The John F. Kennedy Hornets had their offense clicking on all cylinders in the sixth inning of the Region 3-1A baseball game against the Shaw High School Hawks here Thursday evening.
The Hornets, which led 7-1 in the first three innings, saw the Hawks fight back and cut their lead down to 7-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
JFK thunder back in the sixth and had a huge eight-run inning with eighth grader DeAndre Holt capping it off with a walk-off grand slam home run to lead the Hornets to a 15-5 victory in a game called after six innings due to the 10-run rule.
JFK improved to 8-2 with a 4-1 mark in the region, while Shaw fell to 3-4 with a 1-3 mark in the region.
In the huge sixth inning, the Hornets took advantage of an error, three walks and four hits with the big one being Holt’s grand slam over the fence.
“From the start of the season, we’ve been having some good early innings,” JFK head coach Ken Howard said. “No matter how good we get, Shaw is always a well coached team. Coach (Tony) Roach has done a good job with them.
“I told them going into that last inning that we needed a little push and some insurance runs,” Howard added. “Like I say, Shaw never gives up. I told them the two-run lead wasn’t going to be enough. We needed the insurances runs. In the back of my mind, I was thinking two or three more but they got me eight more. DeAndre Holt stepped up with that walk off grand slam.”
The Hawks committed three errors, while JFK committed two. JFK also out-hit Shaw 9-7.
Senior hurdler Cedric Gardner earned the win for the Hornets on the mound as he gave up five runs, three earned, on seven hits with nine strikeouts and three walks, one intentional in a six-inning complete game effort. He also went 2-for-2 at the plate with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Freshman Tyler Feltson suffered the loss for the Hawks as he gave up 12 runs, nine earned, on six hits with eight walks and six strikeouts. Freshman Jacobe Nailor entered the game in relief for the Hawks in the sixth and tossed a third of an inning, giving up three runs on three hits with a strikeout.
Shaw head baseball coach Tony Roach was pleased with the fight the team put up but felt mistakes killed the team.
“I have never questioned my kids' fight because they always seem to fight until the last strike pitched,” Roach said. “Our problem is mainly limiting errors and not having long innings such as the sixth inning when we gave up eight runs including a grand slam. We are a very young team full of seventh and ninth graders and four seniors. We will go back to the practice field and prepare to finish the season strong. We have a bend but never break mentality. We will get this show back on the road.”
Along with Gardner and Holt at the plate for the Hornets, eight grader Cardorian Hickman drilled two hits, drove in two runs and scored once, eighth grader Jaryn Kelly tagged a double, drove in two runs and scored twice, eighth grader Damien Scott, sophomores Tyler Fields and Daquavis Davis drilled a hit and scored a run each, seventh grader Lamont White scored four runs and eight grader Jalen Ward drove in a run and scored a run to round out the offense.
For Shaw on offense, freshman Orlando Truss tagged two hits and scored three runs and senior Melvindrick Johnson tagged two hits and drove in three runs to lead the way, followed by eighth grader Patrick Kince with a hit and a RBI and Feltson and Nailor with a hit each.
JFK is scheduled to return to the diamond Tuesday to play Simmons in Hollandale at 4 p.m., while Shaw will play Simmons Friday.