HATLEY – The Hatley Tigers had mixed results in their key division series with Houston, holding on for a 5-3 win last Tuesday night but then seeing the Hilltoppers get the split with a 5-0 shutout on Thursday.
Tuesday: Hatley 5, Houston 3
The Tigers took the lead in the third inning and held off a couple of late charges by Houston to stay undefeated in division play.
“We let them off the hook a couple of times with errors, but we didn’t have the big inning tonight that we have been having in our losses this season,” Hatley coach Jamie Edwards said. “We have been having one inning where everything multiplies on top of each other, and we didn’t have that. Brody threw a wonderful game in just his second outing, and I’m proud of him for that. This was a huge win for us and the momentum of our season.”
Houston started the game off strong, getting back-to-back hits to take a 1-0 lead. Brody Bickerstaff worked out of the jam, first with a strikeout, then with help from his defense as Luke Moffett, David Woods and Eli Carter combined to get the double play.
Hatley took advantage of the free pass to help them get on the board and tie the game in the bottom half. Markhel Hunt and Luke Moffett drew back-to-back walks, and Bickerstaff sacrificed them over. Eli Carter got the first hit and drove in Hatley’s first run with a hot-shot single to the shortstop to tie it at 1-1.
Jacob Mobley drew a walk, but the Hilltoppers cashed in with a double play of their own to limit the damage.
Woods had the huge hit of the afternoon to give the Tigers the lead in the third inning. Moffett started the inning off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error with no outs. Bickerstaff and Carter each also drew walks, but Hatley’s opportunity nearly stalled with back-to-back strikeouts after a pitching change.
Woods came through though, clearing the bases with his double to center field to make it 4-1.
“David, Luke and Eli all had big hits,” Edwards said. “David had two huge hits, that one with all the RBIs there, and that was good for him and his confidence.”
In the fourth, Hatley had just a two-out single from Moffett but had another chance to add to their lead in the fifth. Ryan Ward reached on an error, and Woods smashed another double but Ward was thrown out at the plate on a close play.
Houston cut the lead to two twice, including in the seventh. In the fourth, two walks and two hits cut it to 4-2. Bickerstaff worked out of having a runner on in the fifth with a strikeout, and Moffett came on in relief with two on in the sixth and got a strikeout to end the threat.
He came through at the plate in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single for an insurance run after Rob Ford and Hunt each reached on bunt singles.
Moffett worked around a hit and a pair of errors in the seventh to end the game with another strikeout.
Bickerstaff went six and two-thirds in the start, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out six and walking two as he picked up the win. Moffett recorded the save with three strikeouts in an inning-plus of relief.
Thursday: Houston 5, Hatley 0
Hatley suffered its first division loss, despite a strong night on the mound from Luke Moffett.
Moffett struck out nine in the loss.