Hayden Knight was enough of a savior to lead the Ridgway Christian Eagles to a 19-8 win over St. Joseph to open up an Arkansas Association of Christian Schools baseball doubleheader at Eddie Bryan Field on Thursday.

Hayden Knight was enough of a savior to lead the Ridgway Christian Eagles to a 19-8 win over St. Joseph to open up an Arkansas Association of Christian Schools baseball doubleheader at Eddie Bryan Field on Thursday.

Ridgway won the second game 13-0.

Knight, a seventh-grader, came on in relief of Demetrius McCullough with two outs in the first inning and muzzled the Huskies for the rest of the game, making his high school pitching debut one to remember.

“Hayden has some experience,” Ridgway coach George Lea said. “He hasn’t pitched at this level, but he knows how to pitch. He came in and did a great job. I am very proud of him.”

Knight entered the game with the game tied 4-4 after McCullough ran into control problems. After recording outs on the first two batters, McCullough walked John Wauters, hit Chris Taylor and issued a free pass to Tim Lenox, forcing home the first run for the Huskies. Knight fared no better on his arrival, walking the first three batters and allowing an RBI single to Randy Whiteside before coercing a fly ball out from James McClellan to end the inning.

“That was my first time,” Knight said of pitching from the high school distance of 60 feet, 6 inches. “It was pretty nerve-racking at first. Then I got in a groove and it was all right after that.”

The Huskies (0-6) scored five runs in the first to take the lead but Ridgway bounced back in the second with four more runs for an 8-5 advantage and Knight allowed only three runs on three hits over the final five innings.

“”It took about an inning to get settled down,” Knight said. “I just tried to throw strikes and let the defense work. I know have a good team behind me to back me up.”

While Knight and the defense were keeping the Huskies at bay, the offense was adding runs in bunches. Led by twins Jacob and Cody Anderson’s five total hits and Cody Cheatwood’s three-hit, two-RBI performance, the Eagles added four more runs in the third and fifth and two in the sixth to end the game by the 10-run mercy rule.

Andrew McMahan also collected a pair of hits and scored three times. The Eagles (3-3) also capitalized on 10 walks from St. Joe starter Tyler Stewart.

“He’s learning how to be a pitcher,” said St. Joseph coach Matthew Foss. “That was good to see. Every time he goes out he gets better.”

Cheatwood earned the win on the mound in the second game.