Schoolkids Fill the Joe to Watch Stars Beat Mobile, 7-3

(HUNTSVILLE) - David Welch tossed 6 2/3 innings and chipped in with a 3-run double in Huntsville's 7-3 win over Mobile Wednesday in front of 5,480 fans, the biggest crowd of the season, most of them bused-in schoolkids at Joe Davis Stadium.

The Stars improve to 23-10 with their 9th straight win to regain a game lead over West Tennessee, who later lost to the Mississippi Braves at Pringles Park, 7-5. The Stars are now 16-2 at home.

Mobile starter Hector Ambriz put his team in front 2-0 with a 2-run home run to right in the 5th, but the Stars came right back in the bottom half.

Cole Gillespie and Freddy Parejo singled to open the inning, then one out later, Guilder Rodriguez walked to load the bases. Welch followed with a double to the gap in right-center to clear the bases and give the Stars a 3-2 lead. Huntsville pitchers have driven in 10 runs so far this season, with Welch responsible for 5 of them.

The lead didn't last long, however, as Bryan Byrne led off the 6th with an opposite field home run to left to tie the game. The Stars bounced right back, though, as Carlos Corporan's two-out single in the bottom of the 6th put Huntsville back on top, 4-3.

Mike Bell greeted reliever A.J. Shappi with a leadoff home run in the 7th to make it 5-3 and the Stars tacked on two more in the 8th for the 7-3 final.

Welch earned his 4th win of the year, yielding 3 runs on 8 hits over 6 2/3 innings. Patrick Ryan followed with a scoreless inning and a third, stretching his scoreless string to 16 2/3 innings since the start of the season. Juan Sandoval closed the game by retiring the side in order. Thursday night, left-hander Brae Wright (1-3, 3.71) takes the mound against BayBears' right-hander Matt Torra (3-1, 1.75), who is 5th among Southern League ERA leaders.