Will put on another show Saturday, leading his team to a tough doubleheader sweep over two different Smyrna teams. He was the winning pitcher in the first game, pitching 2-2/3 scoreless innings and striking out six. By the fifth inning of Game Two Will was exhausted, but he pitched the last two innings and struck out three more.
Will was the only Saints player to reach base all four times. He went 3 for 3 with a walk and three runs scored, three stolen bases, and two RBIs.
In the second inning of Game One he walked, advanced to second on an infield single,
stole third, and continued home when the throw was wild.
In the fourth Will hit an exciting two-out double. He hit the ball into the gap in right-center and took off around the bases, hoping for a triple. But the centerfielder made a great play to cut the ball off, and he fired the ball quickly back to second-base. Will had to hustle to second, and he barely slid in safely ahead of the tag. He stole third base, but John Fulton struck out to end the inning. The pitcher was the grandson of Pirate great Willie Stargell.
In Game Two Will grounded to the shortstop, but beat out the throw to first for a hit. Again he stole third base, and again the throw got away, and Will scored.
In the fourth Will again came up with two out and the bases empty. He hit a fly ball over the centerfielder’s head and raced to third. As he rounded the bag the throw get away from the cutoff man, allowing Will just enough time to slide home safely.
Will also had some exciting plays in the field. Will played shortstop the first three innings. The leadoff hitter walked and tried to steal second, but catcher Tanner’s throw hit Will in the mitt for an easy out.
In the third the number three hitter hit a sharp bouncer straight up the middle. Will ran over it into short centerfield, reached out and barely snagged it, and wheeled and threw across his body to first, just missing making a remarkable play.
In Game Two a pesky Smyrna baserunner was trying to distract the pitcher. Tanner stepped off a few times, and at shortstop Will was chasing the runner back to second. Finally Will broke quickly to the base, and Tanner wheeled and threw a strike. The runner slid back headfirst, and the rookie umpire called him out. The runner wasn’t happy, and grudgingly stomped off the field. At the time the Saints held a slim two-run lead, and with no out the runner was foolish to risk things. Hours later I asked Will about the play, and he smiled and admitted he had missed the tag.
With the two oldest boys not at the game, Will was the only player to not sit out an inning in either game. Besides pitching 4-2/3’s innings, Will caught two innings of Game Two and played shortstop the other five innings.