Prep baseball: Fields dominant, tosses no-hitter in Hoover victory
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In case anybody had forgotten the prowess of the Herbert Hoover baseball team, Sissonville Coach Kenny Harper is happy to provide a reminder.
"They're just a good club, one through nine, they're just going to hit the ball and Tristan (Fields) threw one of the better games I've seen him throw," said Harper after Fields tossed a five-inning no-hitter in Hoover's 14-0 victory over the Indians (6-9) on Monday at Falling Rock. "Probably the best hitting team in the state right there."
The Huskies (11-0), the 2012 Class AA State Tournament runners-up, have a .428 team batting average after going 14-of-23 on Monday.
As for pitching, Hoover's staff has a 0.88 team earned run average.
"We're feeding the strike zone and playing good defense," said Hoover Coach Brian Young, whose team defeated Sissonville 8-1 on Thursday behind freshman pitcher Matt Justice. "The defense we put behind him was probably one of the best you'd see in the state if you'd really sit back and look at it. They're just playing real well."
Fields was dominant before facing the Indians, surrendering seven hits and one earned run in his first two starts of the season.
On Monday, he struck out seven of the first nine batters. In Zach Null's first at bat, Sissonville's top hitter rocketed a 1-1 pitch over the first base bag and off the chalk for what appeared to be a double. However, it was ruled a foul ball and, after Null returned to the plate, he eventually struck out on a 3-2 pitch.
The closest Sissonville got to a hit the rest of the way was in the fifth inning when Houston Hill hit a ground ball that took an awkward hop, which was misplayed by Hoover second baseman Hunter White for an error. A passed ball, wild pitch and Fields' second walk of the game put runners on first and third but he struck out the side to end the game.
The victory marked the fourth shutout of the season for Hoover, which has not given up more than two runs since defeating Winfield 11-9 in the season opener.
For Fields' part, he has settled in early this season after suffering through some arm problems in 2012. His earned run average hovered around 4.00 last year.
"This is the kid you saw the last two weeks of the season last year," Young said. "It took him awhile to get there last year."
Offseason work brought Fields to where he is in 2013 - 3-0 record, 23 strikeouts, four walks and a 0.47 earned run average in 15 innings.
"To be honest, I wasn't conditioning my arm like I should have (last year)," he said. "I worked my butt off. I throw today, I have long toss (Tuesday), I have seventh-period lifting, I can work out the soreness. Last year, just a lot on me, laziness, not willing to take care of my arm.
"I decided I wanted to play Division I baseball, so I wanted to take care of my arm."
The hitting came from the top and bottom of the lineup with leadoff hitter Corey Bird reaching base four times, stealing two bases and scoring four times. Ryan Shamblin had three hits with three RBI and Fields hit his second home run of the season after hitting three last year. Cody Bowen singled twice.
"Our lineup is stacked, we're all seeing the ball well with good plate approaches," Fields said. "No mercy. We don't let anybody be on the field with us if they shouldn't be out there."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.