In their first home game of the season Monday against Maryville, the Benton Cardinals took an early lead in the first and never looked back, cruising to a 6-0 win at Hyde Park.

In the bottom of the first inning, junior Tanner Schmidt drove in the first Benton run with an RBI single. Just a few batters later, the Cardinals loaded the bases and added two more runs on back-to-back walks.

With a 3-0 advantage, Benton scored one more run on a sacrifice fly from Allan Coy to extend their lead to four runs before heading into the second inning.

Coach Johnny Coy credited strong batting performances and aggressive defense from his team as the main contributing factor in their early lead.

“The last couple games we’ve played we got up on teams early,” Coy said. “I feel like we didn’t get as many great swings after those first couple innings, but defensively we were locked in.”

Benton continued its strong start with a dominant pitching performance from senior Peyton Barbee in the second inning. Barbee kept Maryville off the base paths by striking out the side.

Coy also commended Barbee on his excellent five-inning performance on the night.

“He was telling me before the game that he was feeling really well … he pitched really well and that’s exactly what we needed from our senior (Monday) and we got it,” said Coy.

Maryville showed life in the third inning by loading the bases with just one out in the inning, but could not capitalize on the opportunity after two quick outs by the Cardinal defense.

Benton added another run later in the inning after a passed ball behind home plate to extend their lead to five.

The Spoofhounds went three-up, three-down in the fourth inning and the Cardinals added their final run scored for the game on an RBI double from junior Ethan Gwinn.

Once again, Maryville loaded the bases in the fifth inning, but came up short for the second time after back-to-back strikeouts got Barbee out of a jam. Neither team scored in the remaining innings.

Benton improved to 3-2 on the season and they will play St. Pius X on Thursday at Hyde Park.

Taylor Steeby can be reached at taylor.steeby@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPsports.