March 27, 2013

Robbins answers call

Reliever on lockdown for Christian Heritage

Devin Golden
devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

— Christian Heritage School’s baseball team was trailing 5-0 in the third inning Tuesday when Spencer Robbins took the mound for the Lions.

The trouble ended then and there.

Robbins shut down visiting Fellowship Christian the rest of the way and the Lions scored all of their runs in the fifth and sixth innings to win the Sub-region 6A-A contest 9-5.

Ryan Karam’s RBI double in the third gave Fellowship Christian (4-9, 3-8) its 5-0 lead, and Robbins replaced starter Brady Souther with one out and a runner on second. He got the next two batters out and kept the Paladins from inflicting any further damage while the Lions’ offense caught up.

“It showed we could stop them,” Robbins said. “And it let us get a foothold. Once we stopped them, it was good for us to get going.”

The Lions (6-6, 4-3) did exactly that. After Tre Mason’s groundout started the fifth, seven of the next eight Christian Heritage batters reached base — on three hits, three errors and a walk. Michael McKinney’s two-out RBI single drove in Ian Robbins, Spencer’s twin brother, and tied the game.

Lions coach Noah Stokes believes a lot of his team’s success at the plate to do with Spencer Robbins’ work on the mound.

“It could’ve gotten worse,” Stokes said. “He changed the momentum for us.”

In the next inning, Robbins faced a second-and-third, one-out jam but struck out Mike Burlas and Nick Franco back-to-back to preserve the tie. Christian Heritage’s first five batters reached base — Ian Robbins’ RBI single pushed Christian Heritage’s lead to 8-5 and ended starting pitcher Hunter Bryant’s day — and Nich Bartley’s sacrifice fly finished the Lions’ late-game surge.

“You can always build off something like that to prove to the kids you can do it,” Stokes said.

Robbins retired Fellowship Christian in order in the final inning.

“He came in and was just throwing strikes,” Fellowship Christian coach Dan Parsons said. “He was throwing his off-speed (pitches) for strikes, and in the high school game or any baseball game, if you can work ahead and throw your off-speed pitches for strikes, you’re generally going to find yourself on the good side of things.”

In his 4 2/3 innings of work, Robbins allowed two hits and two walks while striking out eight. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate, with his fourth-inning double the first hit for Christian Heritage.

The last four hitters in Christian Heritage’s lineup — Jake Stokes, Chase Tidwell, Sam Sikes and Tyson Cooper — each scored twice. Cooper had two RBIs and Tidwell added a double.

Souther pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs off four hits. In addition to Karam’s RBI double in the third, Fellowship Christian scored one run in the first and three in the second.