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By Troy Treasure
ATLANTA – Tucker Waddle is not a snake charmer.
About an hour before Atlanta’s game with North Shelby on Tuesday, April 27, however, the Atlanta catcher discovered something slithering in front of the pitching mound.
“It was just a little garter snake. It must have been under the tarp,” Waddle said in the dugout a few minutes later.
“I gave it to the fifth-grade teacher,” Waddle added.
Maybe that particular snake was good luck.
Waddle was one of two Hornets to hit three-run home runs in Atlanta’s five-inning 14-4 win versus the Raiders.
ATL took a 2-0 lead in the first inning assisted by an error, hit batsman and a base on balls. NS got out of the frame on well-executed one-out double play.
Bryce Teter ripped a hard ground shot to North starting pitcher Casey Shockley, who fired to catcher Rob Uhlmeyer at home plate. Uhlmeyer, in turn, threw to first baseman Josh Hunolt completing the 1-2-3 twin-killing.
The Hornets (5-2) scored six times in the third inning.
The first three batters reached via single, error and walk. With the bases loaded, a walk forced in a run. Tanner Malusky singled to left field to make it 4-0. Following Teter’s RBI ground out, Morgan Rhoads went distance with a three-run homer to left center.
NS (5-4) scored once in fourth on Kyle Smith’s home run to center field. It was Smith’s first high school round-tripper.
The Raiders added three in the fifth.
Justin Lunsford led off with a walk and J.D. Rich singled to left. After Uhlmeyer struck out, Smith loaded the base paths with a walk. Shockley hit a two-run single to left-center. Smith plated on an error.
ATL won the game by 10-run rule in the bottom of the inning with six runs, highlighted by Waddle’s three-run dinger to center off Hunolt, pitching in relief.
Shockley gave up five hits in over three innings with four walks (two with the bases loaded) and two strikeouts. Hunolt yielded five hits, two walks with 0 Ks.
North had six hits off Malusky, including a first-inning double by Uhlmeyer and two singles from Shockley. Malusky issued two walks with seven strikeouts. The Hornets hurler also helped his cause at the plate hitting 2 of 3 with three RBI.
NS committed three errors, all of which turned into unearned runs. In all, eight of Atlanta’s 14 runs were unearned. The loss was the Raiders first on the road this season.