Hunter Spencer started on the hill for the Rams, sending the Cats back to the dugout, three-up, three-down in the first inning and the Vardaman boys came out swinging in the bottom of the frame.
Allen Hendrix started off with a double to center field and Brandon Washington reached on a pitching error. Kent Casey got a single and another pitching error scored Washington. Ty Long’s double scored Casey and Hunter Spencer’s single scored Long to put the Rams up 3-0.
The Wildcats got their groove going in the top of the second with Sawyer Byars getting a single and Zack Buggs reaching on an error. Byars stole third and a pitching error advanced Buggs to put runners at second and third. Denim Black’s double scored Byars to put the Cats on the board.
The Rams at-bat didn’t last long as Byars retired the side with a pop-out and two strike-outs and the Wildcats continued to climb back in with their at-bat.
Braxton Peden doubled down the left baseline and Johnathon Huffman sent him to third with a single then stole second and Conner Davidson reached on an error to load the bases.
Byars singled to centerfield to score Peden and Buggs walked to score Huffman and give the Wildcats a 4-3 advantage.
The Houlka boys went on to win the JV game, 7-3, and shut out the Rams in the varsity game, 2-0.
“They look pretty good so far,” said Houlka coach Jimmy Guy McDonald. “We’re 5-1 so far.”
Vardaman coach Boo Griffin said he sees a lot of positive sparks on the Rams side of the field.
“They (Houlka) made some good hits on us and played really well,” Griffin said. “”Dalton Huffman was our JV pitcher and he pitched really well. He’s a tenth-grader. He throws strikes, just has to get a little stronger. He’s someone who can help us in the future.”
Ty Long pitched the varsity game for the Rams.
“He had four strong innings,” Griffin said.
Junior Rams on the field
The Junior Rams took a loss to the Junior Toppers June 4, but Griffin said he was pleased with the initial effort and sees potential on the field.
“We’re bringing up some sixth-graders that will be in seventh grade next year,” Griffin said. “We had five younger guys playing in that game (against Houston). Trae Owens pitched his first game and he threw really well. Tyler Boyette threw the second game and he threw well, too.”
Griffin said the upcoming youth will help strenghthen the program for the future.
“We’ve got some guys who have played junior high, but they’re getting more playing time in different positions,” Griffin said. “With a small program, you’ve got to play different positions and learn different positions and summer is good for that.”
The Rams will be back in action Thursday at Calhoun City. The Wildcats are scheduled to host Hamilton Thursday.
Both games are double-headers at 5 and 7 p.m.