Garaway Baseball

Pirates’ bats spring to life as Garaway thumps East Canton 12-3

Gary Miller

When the East Canton Hornets visited Sugarcreek to face the Garaway Pirates in a key Inter-Valley Conference baseball game, the first thing the Hornets did was punch the Pirates right in the face.

The Pirates’ response was quick, and forceful, and a deficit became a lead that Garaway would never relinquish in a 12-3 victory that kept the Pirates perfect on the year in league play and improved Justin Elmore’s crew to 7-2 overall.

After giving up two runs in the first inning, Trey Hershberger settled in and started to pitch the way he can pitch. Hershberger allowed a walk and three hits that produced the two runs, but more importantly, he was up in the strike zone, a place he can’t afford to live.

“Trey was up in the zone, but after that first inning he picked it up and started getting the ball down in the zone and he started doing the things he does well,” said Garaway catcher Ian Hershberger.

While Trey Hershberger got back on track, Garaway captains Ian Hershberger and Quinn Miller had some words of inspiration for the team following what was an uninspiring first half-inning.

“I pulled the guys together and said let’s pull ourselves together, get our bats going and go do what we do,” said catcher Ian Hershberger. “Then we came out and hit the ball around and started being aggressive, and we really picked up our game as a whole today after a rough start.”

Garaway responded quickly and precisely to reclaim the lead, and took advantage of some shoddy East Canton defense to do so.

Peyton Miller lead off by clouting a towering fly ball that the left-fielder misplayed, and after trey Hershberger walked, Quinn Miller lifted a fly ball to right field that the right-fielder lost in the sun, loading the bases. Ryan Aleshire’s ground-out produced the first Pirates run, and Ian Hershberger rifled a ball back up the middle to plate two more and he raced home on Ben Koshmider’s two-out single for a 4-2 Pirates lead.

East Canton would creep to within one with an unearned run in the second inning, but it would be all Garaway from there.

Peyton Miller led off the second with a walk and promptly stole second. Trey Hershberger singled, with the run scoring on an error, and after stealing second, trey Hershberger scooted home on an RBI hit by Quinn Miller. Aleshire followed with a ingle and Ian Hershberger hit his second run-scoring single to give the Pirates a 7-3 edge.

Garaway struck again for two runs in the third when BJ Schwartz and Peyton Miller swatted back-to-back doubles and Miller scampered home on a passed ball to make it 9-3. Derek Briggs doubled and scored in the fourth on a Schwartz sacrifice fly, and in the sixth Garaway got some insurance when Ian Hershberger singled, Briggs smoked a double to left and Schwartz demolished a ball down the third base line that ate the East Canton third baseman up, allowing Briggs to roll home with the Pirates’ 12th run.

Trey Hershberger went five innings allowing seven hits, striking out three while walking one, and Micah VanFossen tossed the final two innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out a pair.

On offense, Garaway banged out 12 hits and roasted a couple of other balls that were hit a ton for errors. Ian Hershberger pounded out three hits, collecting three RBI, Briggs had a pair of doubles and scored twice, Quinn Miller collected two hits and scored a pair, Peyton Miller doubled and scored three times and Trey Hershberger drove home two runs.

“It’s a great win for us,” Briggs said. “This Saturday we had a double-header and our bats weren’t going, and the coaches got on us about coming out ready and prepared to swing the bats, and tonight we did that and it felt really great.”

Ian Hershberger said the Pirates are really enjoying the game right now, and they are playing together as one unit. He noted the team-first attitude and the willingness to do whatever is needed to make the team successful has been a key.

“That was huge for us to come right back after they struck early and respond like we did,” said Garaway coach Justin Elmore. “They hit the ball hard early, but trey was way up and he struggles when he is up there. When he is down in the zone he is effective, and his three, four and five innings were really solid. But for us to answer with that four-spot was big.”

And it was the hitting approach that paid off for the Pirates.

‘We struck out 19 times in our double-header Saturday, which is totally unacceptable, and out situational hitting was non-existent,” Elmore said. “Tonight we did a much better job of that, and we put the ball in play and made them make plays.” We finally were driving the ball, so that was very comforting seeing us come alive offensively.”

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