WORTON — The dugout emptied and teammates rushed out to congratulate Matt Wade as Kent County's cleanup batter dusted himself off after sliding across the plate belly down for an inside-the-park home run in the last of the sixth inning Tuesday, underscoring two points that head coach Jason Conner had made in a telephone interview the night before.

No. 1: the 13-player roster is a tight-knit group.

No. 2: you can't win without putting the ball in play.

Wade went 3-for-4 and six others, including freshmen Noah Iacona and Brennan "BB" Dean, each had a hit in Kent County's 8-3 triumph over visiting Pocomoke in the season opener for both schools.

Meantime, Ryan Miller (eight strikeouts) scattered four hits and did not issue a walk in a complete-game gem.

He threw 102 pitches — three fewer than the maximum allowed — as he closed out the game with a 12-pitch seventh inning while retiring Pocomoke in order.

Miller only really struggled in the first inning when he hit the leadoff batter and gave up a double to the next batter; both scored to give the Warriors their only lead of the afternoon, and a short-lived lead at that, 2-0.

Miller got stronger as the game progressed, at one point retiring eight batters in a row and 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.

"Pitching and hitting," Conner said when asked to assess the Trojans' season opener.

"We've been working a lot on hitting," he said, noting that was the club's Achilles' heel last year in an 0-5 start.

"We've got to put the ball in play," Conner said for emphasis.

Kent spotted Pocomoke a pair of runs to open the game, but base hits from Brandon Cannon, Wade and Joey Nuse in the last of the first inning produced a 2-2 tie.

Wade's two-out single in the second inning chased home Tanner Beck (walk) and Jace Conner (walk) to give the home team the lead for good.

Iacona's run-scoring double in the third extended the spread to 5-2.

Kent County added defense to its arsenal in the fourth when second baseman Cannon turned a 4-4-3 double play to help out Miller, who gave up a run on back-to-back base hits to open the frame.

Miller then coaxed an inning-ending groundout to third baseman Dean.

He allowed just one more base runner the rest of the way — Ethan Scott (2-for-3), who had a two-out infield single in the sixth.

The Trojans sealed the win in the home half of the sixth with two away when Wade, the 2022 team MVP, sent a towering shot that one-hopped to the fence in center field. Cannon (hit by pitch) and Miller (infield single) scored easily to make it 7-3 and Wade, getting the green light as he rounded the bag at third, legged out an inside-the-park home run.

Miller took it from there, setting down the Warriors in order on a flyout to Trevor Metzger in center field and getting the next two batters looking at strike three.

All but one underclassman on Kent County's 2022 varsity-only baseball team has returned, providing second-year head coach Jason Conner with a fundamentally sound and cohesive group.

They're an athletic bunch: in the fall, Wade, Cannon, Miller and Trice Moore played football and Jace Conner played soccer; Iacona already has lettered in soccer and wrestling; and Nuse and Gabe Voshell wrapped up their basketball season less than a month ago.

The "everyone getting along" component is huge, coach Conner said, as positive team chemistry will be just as important as what happens out on the field for a program that has won only six games over the last two seasons.

"So far we're looking real good," said Conner, who is assisted by Nick Cannon and Jeff Dean.

There are eight returning letter winners, and most of them started Tuesday: Miller on the hill and Wade behind the plate; Nuse at first, Cannon at second and Jace Conner at short; and outfielders Metzger and Beck.

Freshmen started in the other two positions — Dean at third and Iacona in the outfield.

Iacona and Metzger also can back up Wade.

Kent has a stable full of pitchers: Miller, Cannon, Jace Conner, Dean, Iacona, Beck, Kenny Ramirez and Nuse, the only left-hander.

Moore, Voshell, Ramirez and Josh Suwala give Kent depth in the outfield. Moore is a returning junior; Ramirez, Suwala and Voshell are seniors playing high school baseball for the first time.