There were positives and negatives for Holly Pond High’s baseball team Monday against Sardis.

On the bright side, the Broncos pushed across three runs on Trent Dixon — the most runs given up by the Lions starter this season.

But then again, Holly Pond failed to register a hit while dropping a 4-3 decision to the visiting Lions in each team’s Class 3A, Area 13 opener.

“He’s got a real nice fastball and his curve is hard to hit because he hides it so well,” said Broncos leadoff hitter Wesley Graham. “But I think we could get some hits off him if we just get our timing right.”

On a positive note, Holly Pond starter Blake Rowell matched Dixon — a Wallace State signee — almost pitch-for-pitch, keeping Sardis off balance all day with a steady diet of off-speed stuff. The Broncos senior struck out six and walked three in seven innings of work.

But then again, Holly Pond committed seven errors in the field behind Rowell.

“He did an excellent job,” said Broncos coach Brett Neal. “That was the best he’s pitched all year. He showed up and did what a senior is supposed to do. We just didn’t make enough plays in the field to help him out.”

Holly Pond (8-9, 0-1) took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second on two errors by Dixon.

Chris Cahoon scored from third base when the Lions starter mishandled Rowell’s bunt. Nathan Talley scored from second after Dixon’s pickoff attempt flew into center field.

Rowell ran into trouble in the fifth after loading the bases with one out, but the Broncos senior allowed just one run in the frame.

Holly Pond took the lead back in the fifth when Wesley Cook stole third and continued home on a wild throw from the Lions’ catcher.

Sardis responded with two runs in the sixth to take the lead for good. Holly Pond got a leadoff walk in the seventh but saw the tying run cut down at third on an attempted steal.

“We’ve struggled hitting all year, and when you face that good a pitcher, it makes it extremely difficult,” said Neal, whose team drew six walks.

The teams face off again today in Sardis at 4:30 p.m.

‰ Michael Cummings can be reached by e-mail at michaelc@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 258.

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