AURORA -- The Blue Devils used a nine-run fourth inning to score a season-opening 19-9 win in six innings at Mesabi East Thursday.
Virginia put together 12 hits and were aided by Daniel Moore’s four-inning effort on the mound. He gave up only three hits and four earned runs.
Giants head coach Dave Hillman said the four hurlers he used in the contest had trouble throwing strikes and issued 14 walks as a staff. “It was the walks that killed us,’’ he added.
The back-and-forth contest had Virginia ahead 4-0 before Mesabi East brought home five runs in the bottom of the second to take a 5-4 lead. Things were tied 5-5 in the top half of the third before the Giants added four in the bottom to take a 9-5 lead.
The Devils’ nine-run fourth blew things open, though.
Virginia was led by John Kendall, who went 3-for-3 with 4 RBI and narrowly missed a grand slam in the sixth when his hit found the yellow fence topper and came back into play. Dylan Hedley was also 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, while Nick Peters went 3-for-4 with and RBI and Moore went 2-for-2 and scored three times. Mason Carlson also picked up a timely hit and RBI thta also sparked the Blue Devils.
Mesabi East, meanwhile, was paced by Brayden Leffel with a 2-for-4 effort and 2 RBI, Kalub Corbett with two hits, Logan Schroeder with a triple and 2 RBI and Caden Maki with a hit and three walks.
On the hill, Moore picked up the win, while Leffel took the loss. He went one inning, fanned one, walked four and gave up eight runs on three hits.
Despite the loss, Hillman said it was nice to be back out on the field after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 season. “The kids were having fun.’’
Virginia (1-0) takes on North Woods at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 9, at the Mesabi East High School field. The Giants (0-1) hosts Hermantown on Thursday, April 15.