Hedgepeth Tosses Two-Hitter
By AL MYATT
The Triton varsity baseball team huddled in front of their dugout on the third-base side each inning before batting as they hosted Cleveland on Wednesday night in a Two Rivers 3-A Conference makeup game.
The Hawks broke the gathering by saying, “Runs.”
Triton scored just one run — singular — but pitching and defense made it sufficient for a 1-0 win over the Rams.
Senior left-hander Aaron Hedgepeth turned in a complete game, tossing a two-hitter and striking out six.
Fittingly, the game ended with a defensive gem as left-fielder Colton Neighbors pegged to third baseman Lucas Hamilton for a tag out as a Cleveland runner tried to go from first to third on a single by Parker Smith, who finished the pitching duel on the mound for the Rams.
Shortstop Jacob Maness made a diving stop, pivoted and fired to Adam Capps for a pick-up at first to start the fifth inning.
Hedgepeth ended the fourth by snaring a line drive.
The Hawks improved to 11-5 overall and 3-3 in league play.
“That win was huge,” Triton coach Joey Miriello said. “It puts us in sole possession of third place (in the Two Rivers). …
“It gives us 11 wins. If we don’t finish in those top two spots, we’ve got to have as many wins as possible to get that wild card berth.”
The Hawks were errorless in the field.
“Proud of what we did on defense,” Miriello said. “That’s usually our Achilles heel but tonight it was what won the ball game for us. I think since we moved Ethan Hedgepeth to second base, it’s kind of tightened up our defense a little bit. He has quite a bit of range over there and Jacob is getting more comfortable at shortstop. That’s evident. …
“Aaron, without a doubt, threw a great game. He’s pitched well for us the last few ball games. The approach at the plate wasn’t what we wanted but a win is a win. That’s a quality program we just played right there.”
Jojo Smothers started for Cleveland and went five innings. Triton scored in the fourth after a leadoff single by Hunter Vinson was misplayed and he hustled to third. Adam Capps drew a one-out walk and was out at second on a grounder to third by Hedgepeth.
Vinson came home as the throw to first to get Hedgepeth for a double play was not in time.
“I hit it off the end cap,” Hedgepeth said. “I think I tore the ball because I was warming up and it was torn.”
The Hawks visit South Johnston tonight and will need another stellar defensive effort. The Trojans took advantage of Hawk miscues — six errors — in a 15-4 win at Triton on March 28.
It will be the third game of the week for the Hawks, who bounced back from a 5-0 loss at Corinth Holders on Tuesday night.
“South Johnston is probably going to be a little better off pitching-wise than we are, them being our third game of the week,” Miriello said. “We’re going to start a freshman (Ethan Hedgepeth) on the mound. We’re hoping he can throw strikes, but the bottom line is we’re going to have to swing the bats to win.
“They’re going to swing it. They hit the ball just as good as anybody we’ve played this year. We’re going to have to produce some runs one way or the other.”
“We’re hoping Ethan can go out there, keep them offbalance, throw strikes, play good enough defense and hit the ball well enough where we can pull off an upset.”
Aaron Hedgepeth pitched a shutout and drove in the only run.
Daily Record Photo/John Lucas