SPRING HILL — Brandon Lawson stood alone atop the mound surrounded by baserunners.
Springstead's freshman ace looked for a friendly face Tuesday as the chilly wind whipped across the stitched lettering on his uniform. He turned to third baseman Jack Diven, who gave him a shout.
"We always say we love each other," Lawson said. "That just gets me hyped to keep pitching on and do good. … He'll say, 'I love you.' And I'll say, 'I love you more.' That just gets me pumped."
Those words helped calm Lawson, who escaped the one-run inning and settled down to give the Eagles a defensive edge in an 11-5 win against Mitchell.
Lawson left after four innings with eight strikeouts, two hits, three walks and one unearned run.
"Lawson is special," Springstead coach Frank Vitale said. "He's a freshman. Even though he struggled in the first inning, he's got composure and he's way more mature than his 14 years of age. He stands up there when things aren't going well and he battles."
Lawson would walk in a run, but struck out three of the final four batters to trail 1-0.
Springstead (6-0) heated up offensively in the second, highlighted by a two-run triple from Diven for a 2-1 lead.
After Lawson struck out the side in the top of the second, Springstead scored five in the bottom half, including a three-run home run by Brett Maggard for a 7-1 lead.
In all, Springstead had six extra-base hits, including three doubles by Patrick Dwyer.
Mitchell (3-3) scored in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Kevin Games to make it 8-2, then Steve Brown scored on a passed ball to make it 8-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, Springstead's Julian Perez helped keep the game out of reach with an RBI single to right to score James Wright for a 9-3 lead. Maggard would then score on a wild pitch followed later by a throwing error to send Perez in for an 11-3 lead.
The Mustangs scraped together two more runs in the seventh with Brown and Connor Hale crossing home plate.
In the end, the Eagles talked about their undefeated start, looking forward to the next task.
"It's good the way we're starting," Dwyer said. "We've played some good teams. We're just playing good, sound baseball."
Izzy Gould can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 421-3886.