ALBANY -- Banks Kinslow could have easily settled for a double when he smashed a hit into left field that got away from Crisp Academy's Rush Brown during Friday's game.
But one go-ahead sign from Deerfield-Windsor head coach Rod Murray was all Kinslow needed to make his way home.
By the time Kinslow had rounded third, the throw from the cut-off man to home plate was already in the air. Sensing a close play at the plate, he juked right to elude the catcher and slid feet first. Much to the chagrin of the Wildcats, Kinslow was called safe for an inside-the-park home run that propelled the Knights (5-2, 1-0 Region 1-AAA) to a 12-5 triumph against Crisp Academy (1-5).
"It was close and it was up to the umpire whether (I made it)," Kinslow said. "Sprinting that hard, it took me a little while (to catch my breath)."
The two-run home run was one of three hits for Kinslow, who finished with four RBI and four runs. Chris Moates also had a standout day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs.
"Those guys are up there for a reason; put the ball in play, hit the ball hard and drive in some runs," Murray said about the top of his order. "(Friday night) they delivered, and we are particularly happy with their effort at the plate."
Deerfield wasted no time establishing a comfortable lead on the Wildcats, whose starting pitcher Jordan Howard lasted only 1 2/3 innings after giving up six runs, four walks and hitting two batters.
Knights leadoff man Harris Webb drew a walk to start the game. A sacrifice bunt from Kinslow landed him at second, where he soon came home when Moates reached base on an error. Two batters later, Davis Moore singled home Moates for his only hit of the game, despite reaching base all four plate appearances.
"We all are starting to get our timing back together and seeing the ball better," Moates said. "I was feeling really comfortable and felt no pressure swinging the bat."
The Knights' big inning came in the second when Kinslow hit a bouncer that took a bad hop on Crisp Academy's Robbie Wright. Matt Moore scored on the play. Moates followed with a two-run single that scored Webb and Kinslow. Later on in the inning with the bases packed, the Knights scored their fourth run of the inning when Michael Laslie was hit by a pitch, bringing home Moates.
A dual threat all game long, Kinslow did as much damage on the mound as he did at the plate. After spelling starter Rhett Cooper, who left in the third with no charged runs, Kinslow carried the shutout into the fifth inning.
Even after getting into a jam and giving up two runs in the fifth and a three-run home run in the sixth, Kinslow remained in the game until the last inning.
"Kinslow is a competitor," said Crisp Academy head coach Brett Freeman, whose team reached the Class A state title series last year before losing. "I thought he did a good job, and the balls we hit off of him were ones he left up in the zone. (But) Banks will battle back because he's a good kid."
Freeman said despite the loss and being shut out the first four innings, he was pleased with the way his ball club swung the bats.
"(If) we clean up a couple of things on the infield in terms of errors and base-running blunders then I think it's a little tighter than what the final score was," Freeman said.