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Baseball: Elder’s arm leads Eagles to playoff victories

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, May 13, 2017
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Armed and Ready 1

ARMED AND READY – Senior Bryce Elder has provided a lot of Decatur’s pitchers’ prowess throughout the season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Through two playoff starts, Decatur ace Bryce Elder has truly been unhittable.

The senior hurler followed up his five-inning no-hitter to start last week’s 4A bi-district series by holding Melissa hitless over six innings Thursday night in Decatur’s 10-0 victory in game one of the area round series at Argyle.

“My biggest thing is not looking at the scoreboard,” Elder said. “Just go pitch by pitch, inning by inning and keep working one batter at a time and at the end you get a no-hitter.”

After Elder’s gem, the Eagles will look to complete the series at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Argyle. A third game, if necessary, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“That first W is important,” said Decatur coach Brian Tickell. “Getting that second win is going to be tough.”

Elder picked up where he left off after striking out eight against Dallas Pinkston in five innings last week. He struck out nine Melissa hitters and allowed only two runners to reach base – one by a walk and another on a fifth-inning error. Elder retired the first 10 batters he faced, including six on strikeouts.

“Throughout the year, my starts have been shaky,” Elder said. “These past two games, I’ve gone out with good command of my pitches early, and it carried over for the rest of the game.

“I started with good command, and that boosted my confidence early and allowed me to be a little more aggressive at times and get in on some batters.”

Melissa hit only three balls out of the infield with the hardest one being tracked down on a diving catch in right field by Tyler Ticknor to start the fifth inning.

“That kid is unbelievable. He’s such a competitor,” Tickell said about Elder. “When he misses his spots, he really bears down and he wants to hit that spot as much as he can. Keeping guys off balance with those two or three pitches, he’s tough to hit.”

Decatur immediately gave Elder a lead with three runs in the first inning with an RBI-single by Wilson Hicks followed by a two-run single by Jaxon Terrell.

The Eagles worked three of their six walks from Melissa starter Brady Morrison in the frame.

“We were patient at the plate and were trying to make him throw more strikes and getting our walks,” Tickell said. “Even when getting two strikes, we were still battling up there.”

Decatur used three more walks to spur a four-run fourth inning.

The Eagles closed the game in the sixth with an RBI-double by Eddie Fernandez and game-ending, two-run triple to right-center field by Trey Penny.

“You don’t win games in the first two or three innings. It’s in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings,” Tickell said. “Those kids kept battling. They didn’t think negative about their first two at-bats. They just wanted to get the job done. That’s a testament to our kids. They put the bad things in the past, and they pushed the reset button.”

Armed and Ready 2

Eagle players celebrate another win. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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