Houston senior Eli Smith celebrates after scoring in Monday's 7-1 victory against Salem.

No school, no problem for the Houston Tigers.

Playing twice on days the district was dismissed for Easter break, the Tigers earned a pair of victories as they continued their strong start to the season. Houston defeated Stoutland 12-0 in a rain-shortened victory Friday and downed Salem 7-1 on Monday.

Tigers coach Brent Hall said his previous teams had sometimes struggled on days school wasn’t in session. That wasn’t the case with this year’s team.

“I’ve had years past where that’s been a problem,” Hall said. “We took a little batting practice and they were ready to play, and it showed.”

Eli Smith scored three times, including a steal of home in the fourth inning, as the Tigers downed Salem in the team’s conference opener. Smith and Lucas Cooperman scored three times apiece for the Tigers, who beat Salem for the second time this season. Houston (5-1, 1-0 SCA) earlier defeated Salem in the second round of the SCA Tournament.

Kyle Poynter struck out 10 and scattered five hits to improve to 2-1. He walked just one in the complete-game victory.

Chris Mooney and Kaleb Poynter had two hits each to account for four of the Tigers’ seven hits. Kyle Poynter knocked in a pair of runs with a fifth-inning double.

Salem struck first as leadoff hitter Andrew Kissir doubled in the top of the first and scored on a wild pitch. Salem wouldn’t score again.

Cooperman singled and scored on a fielder’s choice, and Smith trotted home on Kaleb Poynter’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the first.

Houston scored single runs in each of the next three innings. Cooperman scored an unearned run on the first of three Salem errors, senior Brandon Belt was plunked with the bases loaded and Smith stole home.

Hall said he asked Smith a few pitches earlier if he thought he could make it. When Smith said yes, Hall gave batter Ty Foster the signal to take the next pitch. He did, and Smith slid safely head-first into home plate.

“It caught them off guard enough that he snuck across the plate,” Hall said. “Hopefully we get the bottom of our lineup better where I don’t feel we need to do those things.”

With the Tigers ahead 5-1, Kyle Poynter doubled down the left-field line in the fifth to plate Cooperman and Mooney.

On Friday, Kyle Poynter homered and Foster had a three-run triple to lead the Houston Tigers past Stoutland.

Kyle Poynter and Foster knocked in three runs apiece. Smith and Kaleb Poynter each drove in two runs, and Kyle Poynter and Cooperman scored three times apiece.

Heavy rains forced a delay with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. The game was called official just a few minutes later, despite not meeting the full five inning requirement.

Mooney extended his scoreless innings streak to 11.2 innings to begin the 2010 season. He struck out eight and gave up four hits. Mooney walked two of his three batters in the top of the fifth inning as the rain poured down.

Kyle Poynter gave the Tigers an early lead when he lined a two-run home run over the right-field fence.

Kaleb Poynter had a two-run single in Houston’s four-run second inning. The Tigers scored four more times in the third, highlighted by Foster’s two-out, three run triple to the right-field gap.

“I think we’ve proved we’re going to have a decent team for this area,” Hall said.

“But there are a lot of little things we did wrong. It’s just little things I noticed and things we preach every day.”



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