By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
HATLEY – A week off pitching a no-hitter, Hamilton’s Ethan Earnest played the spoiler to Hatley’s undefeated season.
The senior lefty struck out five and allowed four hits, as his Lions sent Hatley (18-1-1, 7-1) to an 8-4 loss.
“Ethan had a bad night at the plate, but he didn’t take that with him to the mound,” Hamilton coach Lewis Earnest said. “He was able to shake that off and concentrate on what he was doing on the mound, and he threw great.”
Hamilton’s offense cranked up from the start, putting runs on the board in each of the first three innings. In the first, Caleb Garvin hit an RBI double off Hatley starter Russ Johnson (7-1) to score Austin Welch.
The Lions plated three more in the second, beginning the inning with four straight singles, including an two-RBI hit from Kyle Dahlem.
After a scoreless fourth, Austin Welch walked, Garvin singled and Dement hit a towering home run to left center to give Hamilton an 8-0 lead.
The Tigers tried to make a comeback against Earnest in the bottom of the seventh as Josh Carlisle got the offense going with a leadoff double. Chandler Wright followed him with a walk, and leadoff man Jake Self sent them both home on a double. Self scored later in the inning on a passed ball, and pinch runner Hayden Evans came in on a bases-loaded walk. The rally fell short, however, when Caleb Walters was thrown out at the plate to end the game.
“We decided to play there towards the end and gave ourselves a chance,” first-year Hatley coach John Harris said. “Hats off to them though. They came ready to play, and we didn’t until too late.”
eager for rematch
Both coaches said they were looking ahead to the second game of the series on Friday and its implications for the division.
“Sometimes it’s good to get a reality check, and I think we got one tonight,” Harris said. “We’ve got to come out and do the same Friday night to give ourselves a chance to win the division.”
Earnest said beating an undefeated team was good, but that his team had more work to do.
“I told the guys this is no time to celebrate. We have to come back out and beat them again,” he said.