WARNER ROBINS -- The Houston County baseball team jumped on top early and cruised to a 10-0 victory over Northside on Friday in the GHSA Region 2-AAAAA rivalry.
The Bears (9-7, 6-0 in region) scored three in the first, with the big blow being a two-run single by catcher Jeremiah Stephens. Houston County added four more in the second, including a two-run opposite-field homer by starting pitcher Hunter Phillips.
The Bears collected three two-out hits in the third to plate two more runs on a double from D.L. Hall.
Northside (4-13, 1-5) pitching struggled to retire the top two hitters in the Houston County order, as Hall and leadoff man Josh Profit combined to reach safely in each of their six plate appearances, scoring five times.
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Profit had a pair of singles and a walk, while Hall followed him with a 3-for-3 performance and three RBI.
“When the top of our order gets going, you saw what we can do,” Houston County head coach Jason Brett said. “We can be pretty dangerous. Profit did a great job (Friday) and it’s good to see him getting things going, and D.L the same thing.
“When those two can kind of get the wheels turning, it’s fun to watch.”
Phillips had total command of his pitches. The senior worked all five innings and surrendered only one hit. He struck out eight Eagles and walked none.
“He looked really good,” Brett said. “That’s the kid going to Georgia Southern, and he’s a good pitcher. He commanded the strike zone (Friday) and threw a couple of pitches for strikes. We were able to put some runs up early to allow him to sit back and cruise, and that’s what he did.”
It was the second outing back for Phillips after being sidelined with arm soreness early in the season.
“We wanted to make sure he was fully healthy going into this part of the year because this is when it’s important,” Brett said. “The non-region schedule is good to find out what you have, but the region schedule is where it’s important.”
The win gives Houston County the potential to clinch a No. 1 seed in the region tournament with a victory over Jones County on Saturday. Houston County will meet the Greyhounds twice in the span of six days, and a victory in either contest will seal the top spot for the Bears.
“We’ve got to beat them one of the two times to clinch the one seed,” Brett said. “They know it and we know it. We all know it’s an important game and what’s at stake. We’ll be ready and I know they’ll be ready. Coach (Jason) Page over there does a great job.”