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Byrd’s bats came to life as the Yellow Jackets continued an impressive start to district play.

Pitching largely carried them through their first three games, and Andrew Suggs kept that trend going with nine strikeouts in a five-inning complete game. Still, the righthander’s teammates largely overshadowed his efforts during a 15-1 rout at Evangel buoyed by four home runs and 12 hits.

“We were on fire tonight,” second baseman Brennan Ertz said. “That’s how we should play every time. Just felt good at the plate.”

Coach Greg Williams said the senior showed up early for batting practice Tuesday afternoon, and it paid off Ertz’s first, hard-fought at-bat after a high foul popup dropped harmlessly to the ground 15 feet behind home plate. He made sure to take advantage of his second life with a blast over the left field wall two pitches later, and it didn’t take nearly as many chances for Ertz to round the bases with the first two-homer game of his career in the third inning.

Back-to-back opposite field blasts from Zack Flash and Zavier Moore led off the frame, extending Byrd’s lead to 6-0 and ending any hopes of an Evangel comeback. Even when balls didn’t fly off the Yellow Jackets’ bats, they often found open grass just inside the foul line or between Eagles fielders.

“We’ve been swinging it well all year,” Williams said. “We’ve hit balls at guys that have gone right at them throughout the year and it seems like tonight a couple of balls kind of fell in, so a lot of energy in the dugout.”

Staying alone at the top of District 1-5A should give Byrd plenty of reason to keep that positive attitude, especially after a somewhat slow start to the season. A tough tournament schedule left the Yellow Jackets (14-6, 4-0 District 1-5A) 5-4 before a win over Lafayette – the top-ranked team in Tuesday’s LHSAA unofficial 5A power ratings – sparked a six-game win streak and 10 wins in 12 games.

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