Nicely, McCoy Help Propel SHS
PENN LAIRD – Any tension in Spotswood High School’s one-run lead in Game 1 of a Valley District baseball doubleheader Friday was probably alleviated by Seth Hinkle coming to bat – because of his choice of walk-up music.
Just after SHS left fielder Hunter Garrison doubled to score Cole Lokey, the loudspeaker came to life with a head-nodding beat and, yes, Lokey’s voice rapping over it.
“It sort of lightens the mood a little bit,” SHS senior left-hander Austin Nicely said. “… It’s not that bad. He’s on SoundCloud.”
And the Trailblazers remain on top of the district.
Nicely pitched a four-hit shutout with six strikeouts in the first game and junior left-hander Tucker McCoy allowed just two hits in Game 2 as Spotswood swept Harrisonburg 1-0 and 10-3 Friday evening in a pair of five-innings contests.
The Blazers (9-3 overall, 5-1 in the Valley) played their fourth consecutive five-inning game coming off a split doubleheader at Sherando on Monday. Friday’s pair of games, though, meant a lot more with HHS being a district foe.
“It’s definitely sort of awkward. It’s definitely not normal,” SHS senior left-hander Austin Nicely said of the doubleheaders. “The games are really short. They fly by, it feels like. And so you have to sort of be even more crisp, especially with a district doubleheader.”
Nicely fired 50 of his 70 pitches for strikes to earn the first win of the night. McCoy followed with five effective innings on the mound. Going 2-for-4 with two RBIs at the plate in Game 2, McCoy did not allow an earned run, with a pair of strikeouts, two hit batsmen and one walk.
Lokey’s leadoff double to the center-field warning track in the second inning of Game 1 got the Blazers going. A batter later, Garrison showed he’s not just a small-ball specialist with a double of his own to right field.
“It felt pretty good,” Garrison said. “It felt real good. … Small ball is typically what I do. I’m not the guy that comes up and hits the big shots usually.”
Garrison went 3-for-4 at the plate overall Friday, going 2-for-2 in Game 2 with two RBIs, two stolen bases and two runs scored. He even dropped a perfectly placed bunt single down the third-base line with two runners on in the third inning for good measure.
“He’s come in a bunch of games in big spots pinch-hitting or just up to bat and really just made the plays and got the at-bats that we needed,” Nicely said.
Matt Shifflett earned the sole RBI for the Streaks (3-8, 2-6) and took the loss in Game 2.
Spotswood’s three outfielders – Kevin Saylor, Garrison and Logan Phelps – combined for a perfect 4-for-4 hitting performance in the nightcap with four RBIs and three runs. They batted consecutively after Lokey, who was once again the offensive igniter, leading off the second and third innings with a walk and a single.
HHS right-hander Ryan Kiser allowed one run on just four hits, controlling Game 1 with fewer than 60 pitches. It was an encouraging sign for HHS coach Mark Mace amidst some “growing pains” this season.
“I was very pleased with Ryan,” Mace said. “Ryan’s learning how to pitch and growing up. This is his first year on varsity and I think this is his second varsity start. He did a great job. He minimized. He pitched well.”
Harrisonburg 000 00 – 0 4 0
Spotswood 010 0x – 1 4 1
Kiser and Whitelow; Nicely and Lam. W—Nicely (2-0). L—Kiser (0-3). HR—none.
Spotswood 043 12 – 10 9 3
Harrisonburg 000 12 – 3 2 2
McCoy and Lam; Shifflett, Dove (5) and Baughman. W—McCoy (5-1). L—Shifflett (3-3). HR—none.