Vann Pitts should have no trouble remembering his first appearance on the mound in a Colquitt County High uniform.
The senior right-hander swapped his catcher’s mitt for his fielder’s glove and moved from behind the plate to the mound with one out in the fourth inning of the Packers season-opener against Chiles High of Tallahassee on Tuesday at Ike Aultman Field.
He immediately gave up a double that tied the game.
But over the next 3 2/3 innings, he allowed just two more base runners and did not give up another run.
In fact, he retired the final seven batters he faced and struck out the side in the top of the seventh,
Oh, and his two-out single in the bottom of the fifth drove in Aubrey McCarty with the go-ahead run and gave Pitts the win in the Packers 6-4 victory.
“After that first inning, he was on cruise control,” Packers coach Tony Kirkland said of Pitts. “He’s going to attack hitters.”
Pitts and starter Austin Dykes combined to give up just four hits and strike out 11 Timberwolf batters.
Dykes went the first 3 1/3 innings and gave up all four runs.
The senior left-hander only gave up two hits, but he walked four. Those four batters scored.
And it was after issuing back-to-back bases on balls with one out in the fourth that Dykes left the hill.
But Dykes also fanned seven batters.
“Good pitching and defense tonight,” Kirkland said. “Our two pitchers did a great job.
“But I didn’t like us at the plate.”
The Packers did not commit an error and had just eight hits.
But, Kirkland noted, “we saw three decent arms tonight.”
Chiles, which drops to 0-2 on the season, drew first blood in the top of the first.
After striking out the leadoff batter, Dykes walked Jackson Kittrell and Jared Shouppe.
Dykes got a second out, but Jeff Frandsen ripped a single to center to score both runners and give the Timberwolves a 2-0 lead.
Dykes helped himself in the bottom of the inning with a sacrifice fly to score Matt Creech, who had had led off by drawing a walk.
Colquitt tied the game in the second when Colin Kirkland ripped the first pitch he saw over the right fielder’s head for a triple and Corey Moore followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Packers took a 4-2 lead in the third innings.
Blake Bennett was hit by a pitch to open the inning and was forced at second on Daren Kent’s grounder.
McCarty then sent a liner over the head of the Timberwolves center fielder for a double that scored Kent to put Colquitt up 3-2.
One out later, Pitts single to right to score McCarty and give the Packers a 4-2 lead.
The two Dykes walks and the double that Pitts surrendered to Kyle Taddeo in the top of the fourth tied the game.
But Pitts untied it in the fifth.
With two outs, McCarty reached on an infield roller and went to secondwhen a pickoff attempt by Chiles right-hander Boomer Biegalski sailed past the first baseman.
After Dykes walked, Pitts stroked a single to left to score McCarty with the go-ahead run.
The Packers added to the lead in the lead in the sixth when Moore doubled to center and scored on Jared May’s hard-hit single to left.
The Packers had eight hits, including two each by Pitts and McCarty. Kent, Kirkland, Moore and May had the others.
The Packers will travel to Columbus to play Northside High at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and defending state runner-up Hillgrove at 1 p.m. Saturday,