WAYNESBORO – When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
The Waynesboro Indians varsity baseball team must have taken those words to heart, because after being held scoreless for the first four innings, they put together a break-out inning and held on to defeat Big Spring, 7-2, Wednesday in a Mid-Penn Colonial Division.
Through four innings, the Indians (5-2) managed only three baserunners, one each in the second, third and fourth frames. Big Spring pitcher Brady Singer was calling all the right pitches to handcuff Waynesboro in its effort to get back on the winning track after a 13-8 home loss to Shippensburg last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were holding on to a tenuous 2-0 lead on the road, and with three innings left to play, anything can happen, especially when playing the Tribe at Robinson Field – the site of many a rally that left opposing teams kicking their heels.
Well, guess what? Waynesboro broke the ice in the home fifth with five runs, then added a pair in the sixth stanza. Tribe starting pitcher Garrett Beaver turned in a sterling performance as he pitched a complete game. He kept batters off balance all afternoon, and his defense came through with play after play without committing the errors that haunted it in the disappointing loss to the Greyhounds.
“That’s our first complete game of the year,” said Waynesboro skipper Travis Hardman. “We really needed one. Going into the game he had 19 innings on the year, so he’s been working up to that point. He had plenty of rest. I’m not surprised, I know he’s capable of it. We really needed it today and he gave it to us.”
Beaver, a right-handed, side-arm pitcher, experienced just one hiccup in the game, and it was the top of the second when Big Spring pushed across two runs. If it was not for an error and a hit batsman, the game would have been scoreless.
With Beaver and the Indians defense keeping the game close, Waynesboro was looking for something to happen at the plate.
That moment came in the sixth, highlighted by a bases-clearing double by Brooks in the fifth inning. Jared Peck was hit by a pitch but was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice that allowed Ethan Earley to occupy first base. Dylan Morgan drew a walk.
After a fly out for the second out of the inning, Moats singled to load the bases. Brooks followed with the big hit of the game, but Waynesboro wasn’t done scoring. Garrett Blount got a free pass, and Hotchkiss followed with a two-run double to give the Tribe a 5-2 lead.
“Even looking back to the last game when we had runners on base and even early in this game, we were lacking that big hit. Maddox came through with that big hit to center field scoring all three runs,” said Hardman. “The law of averages in baseball finally helped us out there.
“With Maddox you have to give him a step; he does have a pop. They respected that. The centerfielder almost made a heck of a play. It would have been a shoestring catch which would have changed the game.”
Beaver struck out the side in the sixth and left Big Spring with runners on first and second with the tying run at the plate. He put down the side in order in the fourth and made it through the third without allowing another run. Brooks, Waynesboro’s catcher, fired a strike to third baseman Ethan Hotchkiss who tagged out a runner attempting to steal third base. Centerfielder Dominic Moats ended the inning when he gloved a fly ball.
The win keeps the Indians among the top teams in the division with key games coming up against West Perry Thursday, Northern York next Monday and the following Tuesday and Greencastle-Antrim next Tuesday and again on Saturday.
Waynesboro will look to complete a season sweep of West Perry when the teams play each other at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at Robinson Field.