Garaway sophomore Josh Yoder might look like a nonlethal kid without a mean bone in his body, but once he finds his way to the mound, the Garaway hurler is a bona fide stud with a passion for punching out hitters.
Yoder was on top of his game when he stared down the Claymont Mustangs on Wednesday, April 11 in Sugarcreek, and his tremendous one-hitter and Garaway’s bats led the Pirates to an easy 15-0 victory.
“He pitched a gem tonight, and he has pitched really well all year,” Garaway head coach Justin Elmore said of Yoder.
Elmore said getting his young sophomore to hit and play the field with the same confidence he exhibits on the mound has been an ongoing thing, but once he toes the rubber, Yoder has been pure gold.
“Since day one when he took the mound for the varsity as a freshman, when he has toed the rubber, he has shown a ton of confidence,” Elmore said of Yoder. “He has been very at home on the hill.”
Yoder certainly showed that confidence on this night. Giving up a hit to the second hitter of the game, he then started sitting down Mustang hitters at an alarming rate. He got the final two outs of the first inning, then was perfect in innings two, three and four. In the fifth he finally allowed a Mustangs’ base runner by issuing his only free pass, but the Pirates turned two on the final pitch of the game to erase that runner, meaning Yoder faced one batter over the minimum.
As for offensive support, Garaway took advantage of six Claymont miscues and pounded out 13 hits, scoring four runs in the second inning to give Yoder more than enough to work with.
In the second Bryce Hershberger reached on an error, and Dylan Hershberger bunted him to second. Yoder then reached on an infield single, and Austin Fearon walked to load the bases. Trey Hershberger then shot a ball through the left side for a two-run single. Trey Donaldson then doubled to center to score two more runs for a 4-0 lead.
After Yoder cruised through the third, Bickford again got it started with a single. Dylan Hershberger followed suit, and an out and an error later, Garaway had the bases loaded. Trey Hershberger popped out for the second out, but an error at short off the bat of Donaldson opened the door to the big inning. Peyton Miller stroked a two-run single, and Ryan Aleshire crushed an RBI single to make it 8-0, although Aleshire was thrown out at second to end the inning.
The fourth inning put the game away as the Pirates poured it on with seven runs.
Oddly enough it was again Bickford that got things going, reaching on an error with one out. Dylan Hershberger reached on an error in center that allowed Bickford to advance to third as he strode into second. Yoder then singled to right to score both and make it 10-0. Fearon then laced a sharp single to left, and Trey Hershberger followed suit to load the bases. Then Donaldson lashed a single to left, and Peyton Miller was hit by a pitch to force in a run and make it 12-0. Aleshire then destroyed a ball to right field that cleaned up the previously loaded bases and gave the Pirates a 15-0 lead.
Donaldson cranked out three hits, scoring twice and driving in three, while Aleshire had two hits while driving in four. Yoder and Trey Hershberger each banged out a pair of hits while scoring twice and driving in a pair. Peyton Miller drove in three runs in what was Garaway’s finest effort at the plate this season.
“That is the best we’ve been in the box all year,” Elmore said of his hitters. “We were confident, we were aggressive and we had a great approach at the plate. Hopefully this is the start of us getting good swings and putting up some numbers on offense to go with our pitching.”
Elmore switched things up, moving Donaldson from the last spot in the order into the two-hole. The outfielder rewarded his coach’s faith in him with a monster game at the plate.
“Trevor had a phenomenal night at the plate,” Elmore said. “He had multiple at-bats where he went six, seven or eight pitches deep into the count before hitting it hard somewhere. We changed some things around just to shake things up a bit.”
As for the rest of the offense, once Garaway got rolling, it become contagious.
“I was proud of our effort and our execution all the way around,” Elmore said. “It was a great night, and we hope that confidence at the plate carries over because we have four games the next three days. Our defense was flawless tonight. We had no errors, and we turned our first double play of the year to end the game. It was a fun night for us.”