McIntosh declared their pivotal baseball series against Fayette County as the start of a new season.
After dropping four of their last seven games, the Chiefs wanted to start the back nine of the schedule on a high note. With 10 games remaining, head coach David Munoz knew his team needed to make a late push into state playoff contention.
“We said tonight was the first game for our next season,” Munoz said. “We got 10 games left and the state playoffs. This is our second season and we want to play our best ball going into state. Hopefully we can run it a little bit and get ready to get hot.”
On Tuesday night, McIntosh played with renewed energy against Fayette. The Chiefs were aggressive and took it to the Tigers. They scored early and often en route to a 12-1 victory.
As a result, the Chiefs improved to 12-7 overall and 6-4 in the Region 3-AAAAA play. They also slid into a third-place tie with Griffin High School. Fayette dropped to 6-15 (5-5) on the season.
“I am proud of the effort and proud of the guys staying focused through seven innings,” Munoz said.
McIntosh was aided by a dominant fourth inning that saw 12 Chiefs come up to the plate. They scored six runs in the frame and opened a 10-1 advantage. Jack Brown got the inning started with a single and he would later score, following an error, from Fayette pitcher Ahmad Ali.
The error would prove to be costly as McIntosh proceeded to flip over the lineup. With the top of the lineup in striking distance, Ali gave up a single to opposing starter Ethan Ange and he hit back-to-back hitters to allow two more runs to score.
Ali struggled with control issues as he continued to put runners on base. After a pitching visit, Fayette opted to go to reliever Darryl Hicks. The decision wasn’t fruitful as Hicks was greeted with a 2-run single from Brown, his second hit of the frame. The hit broke the game open and allowed the Chiefs to cruise for the remainder of the game.
Brown finished the game going 3-for-4 with four RBIs. He put the finishing touches on the victory by driving in the final two runs in the final inning. His offensive outburst rubbed off on the team according to Munoz.
“Lately, they are working at-bats and getting their pitch to hit,” Munoz said. “I am very proud of those guys and the last two games that they have been doing that.”
The run support was more than enough for Ange as he improved to 5-1 on the season. Ange showcased an impressive pitching mix that featured a sweeping fastball and curveball. He kept Fayette off the bases as he allowed just three hits. Ange also struck out four batters in his outing.
The only trouble he ran into was early in the second inning. It was Ali that tagged him with a single and a couple stolen bases. Ali manufactured his run by stealing home to get Fayette on the board. Ange would settle down and get out of the inning via Drew Hodges’ fly out a couple batters later.
“He has been the most consistent this far as in getting us a quality start,” Munoz said. “He has had six quality starts out of seven outings. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
The series continues Thursday night as McIntosh travels to Fayette for game two of the set. It will be another crucial game as the Chiefs look to continue climbing the standings.
“We came off a tough series against a very solid and playoff-bound Veterans team over the weekend,” Munoz said. “We are going to take this win and hopefully run these next 10 games for the state playoff run.”