Robert E. Lee used a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth inning to pull away from DeSoto, 8-2, in a District 11-5A baseball opener Friday night at Mike Carter Field.
The Red Raiders scored five runs in the inning to turn a 3-1 advantage into a commanding lead, improving to 10-8 on the season and 1-0 in district. DeSoto left the bases loaded in the second and fourth en route to falling to marks of 7-12 and 0-1.
Lee batted around in the fourth, despite the first two batters flying out. That spelled the end of the night for DeSoto starting pitcher Jabari Cannon, who left with the bases loaded after giving up seven hits and striking out one.
Lee starter Zach Flanagan earned the victory in five innings of work, keeping the Eagles scoreless in the final four after giving up an unearned run in the first. The pitcher allowed only three hits and struck out seven.
Red Raiders leadoff batter Douglas Kinsey finished 3 for 4 with three singles, while Flanagan went 2 for 2 with two singles and two walks. The biggest hits of the night were by cleanup hitter Travis Miller and designated hitter Matt Solomon, who posted an RBI double and a two-RBI single, respectively.
DeSoto took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Jermaine Hamilton scored on an error at first base. But the Eagles advantage didn’t last long, thanks to the Red Raiders pushing three runs across in the bottom of the frame.
Lee’s Kinsey singled to center to lead off the inning, then moved to second and third. Flanagan walked to put runners at the corners and then stole second, luring DeSoto catcher Jeremy Dumenhil into throwing the ball to second and scoring Kinsey to make it 1-1.
A batter later, Miller towered an offering deep into the gap in left-center to score courtesy runner Daniel Derfus and give the Red Raiders the lead. Then an infield single by Solomon scored courtesy runner Tyler Jones to increase the advantage to 3-1.
DeSoto loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the second, but James Hamilton was caught in a rundown between second and third to end the threat after straying too far from base, despite having the lead runner in front of him.
Lee made a similar threat in the bottom of the third, when Flanagan singled and moved to second on a sac bunt by Miller. Matt Solomon was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with two outs, but the Red Raiders weren’t able to capitalize and the score remained 3-1.
Half an inning after DeSoto left the bases loaded for the second time, Lee put together a two-out rally in which Kinsey and Trace Reed reached base on singles in the fourth. Flanagan followed with a walk and Kinsey baited Dumenhill into throwing errantly to third on the fourth ball that would’ve loaded the bases, then scored as the ball bounced down the left field line.
Flanagan got caught in an intentional rundown between first and second, disguising Lee’s true intention — Reed darting home to increase the Red Raiders’ advantage to 5-1. Solomon followed with a two-RBI single to make it 7-1.
At Mike Carter Field
Robert E. Lee 8, DeSoto 2
DeSoto 100 000 1 — 2 3 3
Lee 300 500 x — 8 8 3
Zach Flanagan, Daniel Derfus (6) and Travis Miller; Jabari Cannon, Jermaine Hamilton (4) and Jeremy Dumenhil; W — Flanagan; L — Cannon. 2B — REL: Miller.
RECORDS — DeSoto 7-12 (0-1); Lee 10-8 (1-0).
NEXT UP — Lee at Mesquite Horn, 7 p.m. Friday.