Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Harelton Wildcats pitch 12-0 shutout over Bulldogs

By Nathan Hague
March 19, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Harleton pitcher Will Davis had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning before Jefferson's Tanner Murphy laid down a bunt for a single for the Bulldog's only hit on the night as the Wildcats came away with a 12-0 win. Harleton is now 11-3 overall and 2-1 in district play. The Bulldogs fell to 4-8 overall and 1-2 against district opponents.

Davis pitched all five innings where he struck out eight batters, walked just one and allowed one hit and no runs. Harleton leadoff batter Ted Fuller reached on three base hits, had two RBI and scored three runs. Cade Dickson went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a single, three runs and one RBI. Zack Wallace reached on a single, a walk, two hit-by-pitches and had three RBI. Garrett Handlin went 2-for-3 with one run and three RBI.

Trey Chambers was the starting pitcher for the Bulldogs a he pitched one-and-two-thirds innings and struck out two batters. T.J. Foster came in to relieve him as he allowed four hits and struck out four batters. Nate Gibbons reached base on a walk as Murphy singled and Varnell got on first with a fielder's choice.

Harleton head baseball coach D.J. Beck said he was pleased with the way his Wildcats swung the ball.

"Our approach when were down in the count was much better," Beck said. "That's something we've been working on. Will was on tonight and whenever he gets ahead in the count, good things happen for sure. He has those moments sometimes where he loses his mechanics and he'll put a guy on, then the next he gets at it and only loses it for that one batter."

"It was a good outing and my arm just felt good today," Davis said. "I was just on today. We've just worked hard at practice and we've done a lot of team activities and stuff. They have confidence in me when I'm up there and I have confidence in them."

Each of Harleton's first three batters singled to load the bases. Wallace was hit by a pitch and that scored Fuller to put the Wildcats up 1-0. Handlin grounded out but still brought Dickson home to score, making it 2-0. Chambers got his first strikeout to end the inning and turn it over to the Bulldogs' offense. The bottom half of the inning saw Harleton force Jefferson to go three up, three down.

The Wildcats batted around in the top of the second. Jones was walked before scoring on an RBI-double from Fuller, spreading Harleton's lead to 3-0. Fuller then scored on an RBI base hit from Dickson. Handlin singled to shallow right field to scored Dickson and Brynden Green who was courtesy running for Davis. Handlin then crossed home plate when Mason Goode reached on an error. A second straight error scored Goode as Jones reached base. That gave the Wildcats a 9-0 lead. The bottom of the inning saw the Bulldogs go three up, three down once again.

Fuller led off the top of the third with a single and Dickson followed that up with a double. Tate Akins was walked and that loaded the bases. Wallace's RBI single brought Fuller home for his third run of the night, giving the Wildcats a 10-0 lead. Handlin was grounded out but his RBI scored Dickson to make it 11-0.

Davis struck out all three batters in the top bottom of the third to bring up the top of the fourth. A three-base error put Hayden Stanley 90 feet away from scoring. He scored on an RBI fielder's choice from Fuller to put the Wildcats up 12-0.

The bottom of the next inning was when Murphy got his team's only hit with a bunt. Varnell reached on a fielder's choice to give the Bulldogs base runners. They were unable to find their way past home plate however as the Wildcats sealed up the 12-0 win.

"I chalk it up as we weren't ready to play the game tonight, hands down," Jefferson head coach Johnathan Jolly said. "Our group of guys wasn't focused to play and their team was. It showed in the five innings that we got a chance to play. They maintained focus and did what they needed to do and we did not. That's good thing about baseball, you get a chance to come out next week and try to play, regroup and bounce back."

Beck said he expects a tough fight from the Bulldogs when the two teams match up in the second round of district play.

"This is their spring break and we couldn't play early because we're in school so that probably had something to do with it," Beck said. "I know next time we play them, it's going to be tough."

The Wildcats are slated to return to action Tuesday when they travel to Beckville. The Bulldogs will be on the road taking on Elysian Fields. Both games are scheduled to being at 7 p.m.



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