Just when the Garaway Pirates needed a big-time effort from someone to halt a nasty losing streak, they got one from the smallest guy with the biggest heart.
Garaway beat Tuscarawas Central Catholic Friday, April 22 10-0 in five innings behind a complete-game shutout from Trey Hershberger, who stepped up and tossed the best game of his varsity career. He also enjoyed the offensive outburst his teammates provided for him, the Pirates playing a complete game, from pitching to hitting to defense. It was perhaps the best effort Garaway has put forth this season in terms of consistency.
“That was so big for us,” said Garaway coach Justin Elmore of the win and Hershberger’s effort. “He really stepped up in a big way and delivered. We had a really rough past few days, and for him to come in and give us that effort was incredible.”
The Pirates went down scoreless in the first, while Hershberger stranded a pair of Saints in the top of the inning.
Hershberger set the Saints down in order in the second, and his teammates then gave him a lead to work with in the bottom of the frame.
With one out, Derek Briggs singled and stole second. Joel Honigford then got on board on an error, and B.J. Schwartz swatted a two-run triple to right to make it 2-0. Micah VanFossen made it 3-0 when he laced a single, and he eventually came around to score after a stolen base and an error.
Now leading 4-0, Hershberger had to have a good inning in the third, and he did, striking out a pair in a quick one-two-three frame.
The Pirates liked the feeling of putting up runs, and continued that trend in the third. Singles by Dallas Foster and Ian Hershberger started the inning, and with one out, Honigford drew a walk to load the bases. Schwartz promptly drove in a run on a base hit, and Van Fossen followed with a two-run single to make it 7-0. An error and a fielder’s choice out off the bat of Trey Hershberger gave the Pirates a large 9-0 lead.
Hershberger gave up a single in the fourth but that was it, and Garaway came in and got the run they needed in the bottom of the inning.
Foster led off with a single and scored on Ian Hershberger’s sacrifice fly. Trey Hershberger then marched out to the mound and finished strong, striking out the first two hitters before retiring the final batter of the game on a groundout top third.
In the complete game victory, Hershberger twirled a gem, allowing just three hits, both singles, while striking out seven and not walking a batter.
“At one point, I looked over at (assistant coach) Ari Yoder and said, ‘This is as good of an effort as I have ever seen a young pitcher give us,’” said Elmore. “He was so efficient, it was fun to watch.”
How efficient was Hershberger? In a complete-game, five-inning affair, he threw a grand total of 47 pitches, a number often times reached in two innings by pitchers. Considering the fact that Hershberger struck out eight, that meant he was zeroing in on the plate with great acumen. That is about nine pitches per inning, and only 2.5 pitches per batter.
“That is a ridiculously low number of pitches for five innings,” said Elmore with a laugh.
At the dish, the Pirates were paced by Schwartz, who continued to have a solid year at the plate. He lashed a triple and a pair of single, while VanFossen and Foster each collected a pair of base hits.
Elmore noted that the hope is this effort, by Hershberger, with the bats and in the field, where Garaway was spotless, will catapult them into the tournament season with some fire and confidence.
The win improves the Pirates to 7-8 overall and 4-4 in Inter-Valley Conference play.