Josh McCollum tossed his bat and watched his deep drive to left field in the fifth inning before he started running on the way to a stand-up double.
After all the damage Liberty’s baseball team did Monday with its bats, McCollum had to admire one.
The visiting Patriots roughed up three Spring Valley pitchers for 15 hits — with hardly a blooper in the bunch — and rolled to a 15-4 victory in six innings at the Grizzly-Bengal Spring Break Invitational.
Combined with a 17-1 five-inning victory over Legacy earlier in the afternoon, No. 2 Liberty (18-2) racked up 29 hits and outscored its two opponents 32-5 on the opening day of the three-day event. The Patriots continue the round-robin tournament at 9 a.m. today against Palo Verde at Spring Valley.
“For us it’s just repetition,” Liberty coach Nick Didier said. “I don’t care who we play, just as long as we see live pitching and get good at-bats. This tournament’s done the job for us, and I like this tournament. It’s good to us.”
Jay Martz went 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBIs against the Grizzlies (10-9), and McCollum finished 3-for-5 with a double, a triple and two RBIs. Liberty sent 11 batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring seven runs, and also batted around in the sixth.
Martz smoked a two-run double to left-center field in the third to put the Patriots up 5-1, and Brandon Soratos added a bases-clearing double to right-center that made it 9-1. In the sixth, McCollum, Jesse Keiser and Ethan Ibarra had run-scoring singles for Liberty, and Martz ripped an RBI double to cap the four-run inning.
Keiser and Soratos each finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs as Liberty reached double digits in runs for the sixth consecutive game.
“We’ve been trying to work on our hitting, work on our discipline,” Didier said. “I think we have good discipline at the plate right now, and we’ve just been hitting some fastballs. ... We have good hitters in our lineup, but hopefully they all continue hitting the ball right now.”
Spring Valley scored a run in the third inning without a hit and tagged Martz for three runs in the fourth. Zane Drachler and Michael White had run-scoring singles, and Martz issued a two-out, bases-loaded walk to Cody Watkins to make it 9-4 before he worked out of the jam.
“We threw a lot of strikes, and we played defense,” Didier said. “We always preach if we can play catch better than the other team we have a good chance to win the game.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.