CENTERVILLE — Not much went right Thursday for Wayne when it faced Centerville in the sectional quarterfinal. The same can’t be said for Centerville pitcher Joey Hecht.
Hecht kept Wayne hitters off balance the entire game to finish with 11 strikeouts and two walks while allowing only one hit, which ultimately resulted in an out.
Tyler Everett belted a double to deep left center off Hecht to lead-off the top of the 6th inning but Everett didn’t have the speed to make it to second and got thrown out. It was that kind of day for Wayne.
Kevin Baugh drew a pair of walks and Jacoby Reedy reached base after getting hit by a pitch, but neither made it past second base.
Hecht repeatedly got Warrior batters to swing at chest high fastballs that either resulted in a pop-up or a strikeout to lead the Elks to a 6-0 victory. The Elks advance to face Northmont on Thursday, May 18 at Fairmont High School. The Thunderbolts defeated Fairmont 10-9 at the same time the Elks were rolling to victory.
Wayne starting pitcher Layne Riley got lifted after three innings. He allowed two hits, walked three, struck out two, surrendered three earned runs and hit three batters. Jacob Duncan came on in relief for two innings and gave up two hits and hit one batter. Tyler Everett pitched one inning and got tagged for three hits and two earned runs with one strikeout.
Centerville got its first run in the bottom of the 1st inning. Joey Holiga got an infield hit but was forced out at second when Kenny Stahl hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Alex Firsdon drew a walk and Riley Poulton hit a ground ball to short stop, but a low throw resulted in an error allowing Stahl to score all the way from second base.
The bright spot in the inning came when Poulton got caught in a rundown between first and second. Firsdon broke for home and short stop Kevin Baugh threw to the plate where Dylan Borns tagged Firsdon out.
The Elks tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the 4th inning. Jake Whisman drew a lead-off walk but Riley struck out Thomas Jenkins. Riley then beaned Grant Lugo and Joey Holiga reached on error by second baseman Cole Kehl that allowed Whisman to score and Lugo to reach third. A wild pitch allowed Lugo to score. Duncan was brought on in relief and got tagged for an RBI single by Kenny Stahl as the Elks increased their lead to 4-0.
Centerville added two more runs in the 6th inning with Everett on the mound. Lugo belted a lead-off double deep down the left field line and Holiga reached on an infield hit. Stahl singled to right but the ball got past Tyler Wynkoop allowing Lugo to score with Holiga advancing to third and Stahl to second. Alex Firsdon grounded out to short to bring Holiga home to cap the scoring.
Hecht ended the game by striking out two of three in the top of the 7th.
With the loss Wayne concludes its season at 11-16 overall. Centerville improved to 14-9 and will now face Northmont (15-10) in the sectional semifinal.
“Hecht is definitely the best pitcher in our division and maybe the best pitcher on the National League side of the Greater Western Ohio Conference,” said Wayne Coach Joe Yount. “He is very good and was very good last year. He was in control from the first inning on and we swung at a lot of pitches that were high. When a kid throws that hard and has a good curve ball, sometimes you jump at that high fast ball. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and say, ‘Good job Joey Hecht.’ It would not shock me if he is the Player of the Year, if not in the GWOC, at least on the National League side of it.”
Yount knew coming in that he would have to use a ‘pitcher by committee’ approach.
“We got three good innings out of Riley but we really wanted to get four to set us up, but maybe four was asking a little too much out of him,” Yount continued. “He did a lot for us all year. He hits the ball, he plays good shortstop and then he took on a bigger role pitching towards the end of the year. We might have just asked for too much out of him. He gave us three good innings and maybe I should have brought Jacob Duncan in a little earlier than I did. Like I told him, I will roll over thinking about that but that is what coaches do. We think through all of our mistakes.”
The loss aside, Yount is optimistic about next year.
“It was a pleasure working with our seniors (Jake Jacobs, Layne Riley, Alex Bochenek, Nick Miller, Tyler Everett, and Da’Maura Hall) and we are going to try to have a Senior Night game because ours got rained out,” Yount added. “Every season has its ups and downs. As a senior class we definitely had some trying times with some off the field stuff, but all six are really great kids. That is the bad thing about high school. They graduate and they are gone. They are always welcome back. They are a good group of senior kids. I just wish we were more successful with them. There are better days ahead for Wayne baseball. Next year with this junior class coming back, I think we will make our mark.”
WAY 000 000 0 – 0 1 2
CEN 100 302 x – 6 7 0
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind