Prep baseball: St. Albans rebounds with 3-0 win over Nitro
One of the good things about baseball is the quick turnaround of games in trying to put a bad loss behind a team.
That was clearly the case for St. Albans and Nitro on Tuesday after the two suffered bad defeats the night before on Monday.
The Red Dragons had a much better rebound at Brandon Matthew Sneed Field, earning a 3-0 victory over the host Wildcats (13-6).
On Tuesday, the Red Dragons dropped a 9-0 decision to Hurricane. The Wildcats, meanwhile, were routed 11-1 by Logan.
St. Albans (15-6) got a stellar pitching performance from Clark Bryant, who pitched a complete-game shutout, in leading the Red Dragons to a 3-0 road victory over Nitro (13-6).
"It was good to get back out here," St. Albans Coach Rick Whitman said. "Hurricane played really well, and we obviously didn't. After last night, our goal was to be better today than yesterday.
With the two being sectional foes, Nitro elected not to throw their top pitchers and instead go with hurlers further down the rotation. Wildcat Coach Steve Pritchard threw three freshman against the Red Dragons.
St. Albans took full advantage in the second inning, sending nine batters to the plate, collecting five hits, and scoring what proved to be all three runs of the game off Nitro starting pitcher, freshman Jacob Bradley.
Bryant helped his own cause with a RBI single, left fielder Taylor Braley doubled in a run, and third baseman Austin Harless also drove in a run with a RBI single for St. Albans.
Whitman indicated Bryant is in the mix as St. Albans' No. 2-4 pitcher but against the rival Wildcats, he looked like an ace. Bryant only allowed four Nitro hits, struck out three, and walked just one batter in the complete-game shutout.
"He's a sophomore, and we wanted to see how he handled this environment," Whitman said. "I think he proved he can handle it. He threw the ball really well.
"We have four guys and they all are right there together. It's not that we tipped our hand or didn't. We have confidence with all four guys and we are in a three-team section. If you play it out, you'll probably going to have to throw all four guys."
Bryant was very happy in his performance.
"It's awesome, and it feels amazing," Bryant said. "I'm pretty happy and it was a big win. We all got hyped up and were ready to play."
With St. Albans still leading 3-0 in the fifth inning, Nitro looked to get on the scoreboard and make some noise, loading the bases with just out.
However, Bryant got out of the jam when Evan Eich hit a ground ball to Red Dragon shortstop Phoenix Shrewsbury, who touched second base, and converted the double play.
Pritchard admitted to not tipping his hand with just a few weeks until postseason play begins, electing to throw the three ninth graders.
Nitro freshman pitcher Andrew Stone relieved Bradley, inheriting runners on first and second in the second inning and after allowing a single to his first batter, Stone struck out two St. Albans hitters to get out of the bases loaded jam.
Stone kept Nitro in the game by throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. Fellow Wildcat freshman Tyler Abbott came in relief of Stone in the sixth, and also kept the Red Dragons off the board, throwing two scoreless and hitless innings.
"The freshman were the few bright spots with Andrew and Tyler," Pritchard said. "To get 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball from a couple of freshman, it's a good sign. We just have to find nine guys that can hit. We have to find some offense. Our hitting has been awful."