Hamilton baseball coach Mike Woods had not allowed Kent Hasler go the distance in a seven-inning game this season -- until Friday afternoon.
Woods visited his ace pitcher on the mound with one out and the tying run at third in the top of the seventh.
"I checked that he was OK," Woods said. "He said he was and we needed a strikeout if we could get it."
Hasler obliged by fanning the final two batters to finish off a 3-2 win over Mountain Pointe in a battle of the top two teams in the Division I power-rankings at Hamilton High.
Hasler, a 5-11 senior, struck out 10, walked one and allowed six hits. Hasler surrendered back-to-back doubles to begin the seventh pulling Mountain Pointe within 3-2. But as he'd done in four of the previous six innings he managed to K two batters in an inning and keep Hamilton (20-2 overall) perfect in power-ranking games (12-0). The loss was the first for Mountain Pointe in power-ranking games. The Pride are now 10-1 in like games and sport a 13-5 record overall.
"He's a gamer," Woods said of Hasler. "He put us on his shoulders at the end."
Hasler was quick to credit his defense after the game as the Huskies got contributions in several facets from just about every starter. Hasler helped himself in the fourth picking off a runner in what was a six-pitch inning.
Catcher Blake King, who had the game begin with some adversity when his vehicle suffered a shattered side window from an early-inning, foul ball in the parking lot, produced a tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the second inning. Throughout the game he blocked low pitches swung at and missed for strike three that he completed the outs with throws to first. His biggest block came in the seventh as he blocked a pitch in the dirt prior to the final two Ks that surely would have brought in the tying run otherwise.
Hamilton turned one double play in the game, but is was a doozy and timely. After Mountain Pointe scored a run in the second on two hits to tie the game at 1 on an RBI single by Tommy Martinez, the Pride had a runner on first with one out in the third and shortstop Cole Tucker at the plate. Tucker ripped a shot at the feet of firstbaseman Jacob Boston who snared it and started a 3-6-3 double play the pros would applaud.
"This was a team win," Woods said.. "We had production up and down the lineup, Blake's blocking back there. Everyone contributed. Our dugout was in to it."
Hamilton got two hits apiece from Justin Wylie, Austin Filiere and Hunter Robson. Filiere doubled home a run in the first for a 1-0 lead. Robson scored after his single in the third on King's sacrifice fly. Filiere's second hit a short, spinning pop up that dropped over the pitchers's head, ended up being the Huskies' third run. Filiere moved to second on a passed ball and scored on Boston's single.
Mountain Pointe got a solid effort from its starter, senior Jorge Carrazco. Carrazcco allowed three runs (two earned) in five innnings. Carrazco was able to strand eight runners in his stint and escaped big trouble particularly in the second when the Huskies scored just once and left the bases loaded.
Bryce Redaja collected three of Mountain Pointe's six hits and scored twice.