Taking the mound for Alton in the Comets' first baseball game of the year, hurler David Vanover naturally didn't look like he was in mid-season form.
However, after getting some first-inning jitters out of his system, Vanover settled down and took control, tossing a one-hitter in Alton's season-opening 12-7 win over the Mammoth Spring Bears March 23.
Vanover gave up his lone hit in the top of the first, working five innings issuing four walks, hitting one, while fanning seven.
Tyler Thompson came on in relief of Vanover and pitched the sixth and seventh innings, giving up four hits and walking three.
Seth Godwin started the game for the Bears on short rest and was replaced by Aaron Burke in the first inning after giving up a hit and walking two. Burke was charged with 10 hits and one walk. He struck out five Alton hitters on the afternoon, while hitting two.
Vanover was in trouble right off the bat in the visitor's half of the first inning. This despite having two outs thanks to a 5-3 double play after Godwin led off the game with a walk for Mammoth Spring.
The bases were full of Bears when Mammoth Spring got a shot to center that was dropped, plating two runs to give the visitors from Arkansas a quick 2-0 lead.
This lead didn't hold up long, as Alton moved on top to stay by crossing the dish five times in the bottom of the frame.
Tyler Thompson (double, two RBIs) got the Comets' scoring spree started with a double to right that brought in a run.
Chase Eschrich (double, two RBIs), playing at less than 100-percent thanks to flu-like symptoms, swung the next big hammer for Alton in the first, skipping a hard shot to right that drove in two more runs for the Comets.
Zach Wheeler (hit, two RBIs) capped the five-run frame for Alton with a hard shot over first base, driving in two runs to give the Comets a 5-2 lead.
Vanover found his groove on the hill and kept the Bears quiet in the second.
The Comets posted one run in the bottom of the second via a sacrifice fly from Tyler Thompson that plated Brent Tackitt (hit), extending Alton's advantage to 6-2.
Aaron Shipp (hit, two RBIs) was responsible for Mammoth Spring's next run, bringing Adam Watson (hit) home on a fielder's choice in the top of the third.
Alton kept the pressure on Mammoth Spring by logging four more runs in the home half of the third, three thanks to the big stick of Dustin Tackitt.
With the sacks juiced, Tackitt ripped a screamer to the fence in right that cleared the bases, scoring three runs. Not yet done, Tackitt later swiped home in the frame to push Alton on top 10-3 after three.
Alton made it 11-3 on an RBI-hit from Vanover (two hits, double, two RBIs) in the bottom of the fourth.
The Bears got that run back in the top of the fifth thanks to Watson.
After being plunked by a pitch, he later swiped home to give the Bears their first run since the top of the third.
Mammoth Spring added another run to its total in the sixth, as a run came in to score from third on a called balk.
Alton's last run of the day came in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI-double from Vanover, pushing the Comets in front 12-5.
Mammoth Spring had two more runs up its sleeve in the top of the seventh. The first run came home courtesy of an infield hit from Watson, while Shipp racked up his second ribbie on a fielder's choice that scored Watson.
That turned out to be the last two runs of the game, as the Comets logged a 12-7 win over the Bears.
Trent Thompson posted two base knocks for Alton, while Caleb Hollis added a single.