By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
Pat Bradford helped power the Rams baseball team to a 10-0 opening-game win over Salem on a chilly Tuesday.
Bradford smashed a home run and finished with four RBI.
“Pat’s a big, strong monster, and last year he swung the bat well,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “We would see him hit some shots in practice. It’s just unbelievable. He didn’t hit a lot of home runs, but he’s very capable of that.”
The Rams broke the game open in the first inning, scoring four times. Bradford started the scoring with a two-run double to the right field fence. Trevor Flota and Clayton Reeves followed with RBI singles. Flota finished the game with three hits and two RBI.
Mt. Vernon pushed its lead to 5-0 in the third inning when Sawyer Harrison scored Thomas Weber with a ground out.
The Rams ramped up their offense again in the fourth inning. Collin Young ripped a run-double. Bradford followed with a two-run smash over the left field fence. Flota made the score 10-0 with an RBI triple to right field.
“I thought our at-bats were great,” Holloway said. “We only had one strikeout, and we hit the ball hard all day. Our outs were hard outs.”
Tyler Ellis started the game on the mound for the Rams and pitched four innings. Thomas Weber pitched a scoreless fifth. With the Rams up 10 runs, the game ended early.
Ellis allowed just one hit which came in the third inning. He pitched around back-to-back walks in the second inning with a pair of strikeouts to end any threat from Salem. The only other time the Wildcats moved a player into scoring position was the fourth, and Ellis picked the runner off second base. The senior finished with five walks and six strikeouts.
“Tyler had a few walks, which is abnormal for him, but he got out of jams anytime they had runners on base,” Holloway said. “Tyler pitched today without two pitches. (He) didn’t have his best stuff, and that’s the way it’s going to be sometimes but competitors get the job done and he did.”
The Rams are 1-0 and travel to Pinckneyville today.