HHS Beats Fort
Streaks Match 2013’s Win Total After 4-2 Victory
HARRISONBURG — Sam Imeson didn’t let a half-hour injury delay interrupt his groove. In fact, Harrisonburg High School’s junior left-hander used it to his advantage.
Imeson – working with a solid fastball and an effective changeup – struck out four batters over the final 2 2/3 innings after Fort Defiance’s Bryce Miller injured his right knee during a fifth inning at-bat as the Blue Streaks beat the Indians 4-2 on a chilly Thursday night.
“That’s the best I’ve felt health-wise, stamina-wise in a while,” Imeson said with ice packs wrapped around his left shoulder and elbow. “It was fun to just go out there and just pitch.”
The Streaks – who finished 5-13 in 2013 – improved to 5-2 with the win, a record built on strong pitching from Imeson and senior right-hander Matt Shifflett. HHS won three games this week – two wins over Fort Defiance and a 13-11 victory against Page County on Wednesday night.
HHS jumped on top 1-0 in the first inning as Shifflett, playing right field Thursday, reached on a catcher’s interference call with one out. He came around to score on a two-out single by senior left fielder Trevor Jackson.
In the second inning, junior catcher Chris Whitelow made it 2-0 Harrisonburg, scoring from third after getting into a rundown.
“We’ve got some speed, we’ve got some guys we know we can be a little aggressive with,” first-year HHS coach Kevin Tysinger said. “We just try to put the pressure on the defense and see what happens.”
With a two-run lead, Imeson went to work on the Fort Defiance lineup. The only blemish on his performance – a two-run fourth inning that included two of his three total hits allowed – tied the score briefly before HHS regained the lead in the fifth inning.
Shifflett, who finished the night with two of Harrisonburg’s three hits, scored on sloppy infield play by Fort (4-5), and junior first baseman Ryan Kiser scored on a wild pitch.
“We had two bad throws that occurred and we had a poor judgment about when to throw the ball, those are things that we will get better at with experience,” Fort Defiance coach Vic Spotts said.
Spotts, the Indians’ long-time coach, came away impressed with Imeson.
“He’s improved a great deal since last year and we beat him up pretty bad last year,” said Spotts, the father of Eastern Mennonite University baseball coach Ben Spotts. “He’s a year older… he was a sophomore last year and he’s a junior this year. We dressed eight sophomores, so we’re about where maybe he was last year.”
The lefty hurler, with his curly brown hair popping out from under his flat-brimmed hat, agreed that taking his lumps last year helped. It’s just one reason, he said, he is 3-0 on the mound this year.
“It’s just more maturity and more experience for things like the seventh inning,” Imeson said of the difference between last year and this year. “We were only up two runs, so that can be a nervous situation. Experience really pays off.”
Tysinger said the injury delay, which involved an ambulance hauling Miller from the field, could have gone either way. While Miller was lying on the dirt near the plate, Tysinger kept his team sharp.
“We tried to keep our guys loose,” Tysinger said. “I just said, ‘Look, we can’t give up, it’s too close.’”
Fort Defiance pitcher Aaron Eppard also went the distance, relying heavily on his defense to navigate the Streaks’ lineup. He allowed just three hits, but fell to 1-3.
Fort Defiance 000 200 0 — 2 3 1
Harrisonburg 110 020 x — 4 3 2
Eppard and Bragg; Imeson and Chris Whitelow. W—Imeson (3-0). L—Eppard (1-3).