ALBANY -- After a solid start to the season, Westover wanted to find out if it was ready to compete with the Region 1-AAA leaders Monday.
The results the Patriots got weren't what they were hoping for.
With a couple of starters off on spring break and ace pitcher Robert Daniel resting for today's game at Worth County, Crisp County pounded Westover, 15-3, to stay atop the region race with Cairo.
"Our pitchers got hit pretty hard," Patriots head coach Kevin Fretwell said. "Crisp is just a good, solid team. Probably the best team in the region. We let the wheels come off there in the (late) innings. We're going to have games like that."
And when the wheels came off, the brakes went out and sparks flew. Westover got a gutsy four innings from starting pitcher Kel Miller (0-1), making his first start of the season, but Crisp (9-3, 3-0 Region 1-AAA) erupted for four runs in the sixth and six runs in the seventh to blow open a 5-3 Cougars lead through five.
Crisp starter Davis Adkins picked up the win by limiting Westover (9-3, 2-2 Region 1-AAA) to three runs on seven hits in six innings of work. Adkins struck out seven and walked one.
"He pitched well," Crisp head coach Bill Pate said. "He hits his spots and moves it around good."
The Patriots had cut the lead to 4-3 in the fourth on Evan Etheridge's RBI single. Etheridge entered the game after Westover leadoff hitter Ricardo Pugh, who was hitting .800 in region play, had to leave the game with an ankle injury after catching his foot wrong on a slide into second base.
The loss of Pugh only exasperated things for Westover, which had to watch its relievers get hammered in the sixth and seventh innings. Will Jones (2-for-2, two RBI) and Drake Dozier (1-for-3, two RBI) delivered RBI hits in the sixth, while Adkins and Chris Yawn had two-run hits in the seventh for Crisp.
"I threw my committee pitchers (Monday)," Fretwell said. "I was saving Robert Daniel for (tonight). We just got pummeled."
Daniel, Westover's junior ace who has been nearly unhittable this year, will start for the Patriots at Worth County today in another big region contest. Those two are trying to catch Crisp and Cairo, the two unbeaten region teams thus far.
"It's just one of those humbling games," Fretwell said of Monday's loss. "(Today) is going to test our character."
Westover was led at the plate Monday by Nick Lane, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI. There were no Patriots with more than one hit. Miller allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits in his four innings on the mound. He struck out two and walked four.
Crisp's Luke Whitman went 2-for-5 with an RBI, three runs and two stolen bases. Taylor Walls was 2-for-3 with three runs.
The Cougars play Cairo on Friday in a clash of region unbeatens.
That game is no bigger than the rest, Pate insisted.
"It's the next region game," the coach said. "One at a time, whoever it is."