By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
HATLEY – Each time Hatley and East Union met in the regular season, the Tigers escaped with their then-undefeated record intact by winning one-run games.
On Friday night, Hatley starter Russ Johnson and the Tigers’ bats didn’t let the Urchins even get close, rolling to a 14-0 win in Game 1 of the 2A quarterfinals.
“We hit the ball really well,” first-year Hatley coach John Harris said. “We saw some good pitches and made some good cuts. I’m very proud of our guys for having discipline at the plate and doing what they needed to do tonight.”
Johnson (10-1) allowed just three baserunners – Tray Davis walked in the second and reached on an error in the fifth, and D.J. Armstrong had the only East Union hit, a single in the third.
“They just completely dominated us,” East Union coach Chris Basil said. “They swung the bats well, and they just beat us in all phases of the game tonight. They did a tremendous job, and hopefully we can regroup and give them a run for their money tomorrow.”
The Tigers will travel to East Union to face the Urchins in Game 2 today at 1 p.m.
“We know we still have to travel over there and face a quality, well-coached team again,” Harris said. “We know we have to keep the pedal down, stay focused and try to take care of business there.”
Taking a 2-0 lead into the fourth, Hatley used a 12-run bottom of the inning to seal the win, sending 17 batters to the plate. Caleb Walters and Tyler Bowling hit singles to open the inning, and Josh Carlisle followed them up with an RBI single to score Walters. Leadoff man Jake Self knocked in Bowling with an RBI single of his own.
Carlisle crossed the plate when Johnson was hit by a pitch, and Hunter Schrock walked with the bases loaded to score Garrett Gray. Hatley finished out the inning with RBI singles from Sawyer Weaver, Walters, Bowling, Gray and Johnson.
Harris said he’s seen a new focus from his team since being swept by division rival Hamilton on April 13.
“These guys are really working hard every day, and they’re wanting it,” Harris said. “They got the job done tonight.”