By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
Gabe Long doesn’t have overpowering stuff.
But, the crafty left-hander almost always gives the Pirates a chance to win when he takes the mound.
The junior allowed just five hits in six shutout innings as Berea Community picked up a 9-3 win over 11th Region rival Sayre Wednesday on the road.
The Pirates (4-2) scored five times in the fourth inning to take a 9-0 lead.
“When (Gabe) can throw whatever I ask him to throw, for a high school player its hard to guess the whole game,” Berea coach Sean Linville said. “He kept them (off-balance) today. If its 2-0, 3-0, 2-1 or even if he’s in the hole, he doesn’t have to come with his fast ball.”
Using his variety of offspeed and breaking pitches, Long worked his way out of a series of jams. The junior allowed four walks and the Spartans had runners on base in every inning except the second.
Long had seven strikeouts and left nine runners stranded. Sayre left the bases loaded in the first inning, then stranded a pair of runners in both the fourth and fifth innings.
“We knew at the top of the order they had some guys who can really hit it, so we just stayed away,” Linville said.
Devin Strong led the Pirates’ offensive attack. The senior had two singles and scored three runs.
“He’s been our most solid and consistent hitter in our lineup so far,” Linville said of Strong.
Hunter Wilson had two singles, two walks, scored twice and had an RBI. Long had an RBI double, Justin Sandefur was hit by a pitch and scored a run and Daniel Wilkerson singled and scored a run.
“This was probably our best day at the plate from the approach standpoint,” Linville said. “We had good at-bats. We still had some ugly at-bats. We hit the ball to right field and tried to hit it up the middle instead of trying to pull everything. The focus was there.”
Berea scored once in the first inning, then added two more runs in the third.
Strong also came on to the pitch the final inning and allowed three runs on two hits.
Berea is set to return to action today at Lynn Camp.