By RYAN CZACHORSKI
---- — Chilly conditions hampered the offenses early, but Effingham's bats heated up in the middle of the game and carried the Hearts to a 12-1 win over Altamont in six innings Friday.
Preston Walker was 2 for 4 for Effingham with three RBI as the Hearts steadily pulled away from the Indians.
It was a bounce back effort for the Hearts, who were downed in their season opener 11-0 last Friday against Troy Triad.
The offensive struggles followed them for a few innings, until Braydon Bone scored a wild pitch in the third inning. From there, the floodgates opened up.
"Once we got a couple hits together and got a run across, it felt pretty good," said Effingham coach Chris Fleener. "The boys got a little confidence. We were finally able to find our bats and things ended up going our way."
Bone's run was the first of four in the inning, as Khye Heuerman had a two-run single and Trenton Frey had a one-run RBI single that turned into an 8-3-2-6-2-5 double play to end the inning.
Effingham would get three more in the fourth, on RBI doubles by Bone and Walker and an RBI single by Drew Levitt.
Clayton Ruckman allowed the first seven runs on the hill for Altamont after relieving Cole Borders in the third inning, but coach Mike Dokey said the Hearts did what they do -- hit the ball.
"He felt like he was getting squeezed, so he tried throwing everything down the middle, and they're a good hitting team," Dokey said.
The Hearts carried a 7-0 lead into the fourth behind Devin Mayfield on the hill, who was pulled after a leadoff single by Aaron Goeckner. Swayde Sanders came in in relief. Sanders allowed a run on a bloop single by Cole Borders, loaded the bases, but got Clayton Ruckman to pop out to end the inning with a 7-1 lead.
Kaleb Harkins pitched a scoreless fifth, but Sanders answered back with a 1-2-3 inning. Harkins ran in to trouble in the sixth, allowing Levitt to score on a wild pitch with one out. From there, Carie and Bone each drove in a run and Walker drove in two with a single as the Hearts batted around to take a 12-1 lead.
Sanders shut the door quickly in the sixth, ending the game via the mercy rule.
To open the game, Mayfield and Borders traded two scoreless innings, as each team had a chance to push home a run and could not do it.
Bone went just 1 for 1 at the plate, but drove in two while registering a double, two walks and a hit by pitch on the day. Levitt was 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Mayfield earned the win by tossing three shutout innings, allowing three hits while striking out three.
"We kind of got ourselves and lost some batters (against Triad)," Fleener said. "Today, I felt like our pitchers stayed with it and threw more strikes. They filled it up with more strikes, we made them put the ball in play."
Ruckman took the loss, while Borders pitched two shutout innings.
Aaron Goeckner was 2 for 3 for Altamont, while Borders drove in the Indians' lone run.
It was only the second time the Indians had set foot on a diamond and it was their first game of the season. But even with the lack of playing time, the Indians left eight runners on in the first four innings.
"It makes a difference for your team and their team," Dokey said. "You've got to put runs across the board. They're a good team, but they're not 10-plus runs better than us."
Altamont falls to 0-1 and is scheduled to head to South Central Monday. Effingham (1-1) will host Mount Vernon Tuesday afternoon.
Effingham 12, Altamont 1 (F/6)
Effingham	004	305	12	12
Altamont	000	100	1	5
WP - Mayfield LP - Ruckman S - Sanders
Effingham -- Walker (2-4, 2B, 3 RBI), Bone (1-1, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, HBP), Levitt (2 for 3, RBI, BB, HBP)
Altamont -- Goeckner (2-3, R) Borders (RBI)