Clear Springs starting pitcher, junior Blake Schultz, threw a one-hitter and senior Drew Minter pulled off ninja-like moves to beat out a tag at home plate, as the Chargers topped the Deer Park Deer, 1-0, to take Game 1 of the Region III-6A quarterfinals Thursday night at Reckling Park.
Schultz pitched a complete-game win, pitching a no hitter through 5 2/3 innings, striking out five, and coming up clutch in a few key situations.
“I went out there and pounded the zone, kept them off-balanced with my off speed,” Schultz said. “The defense played a heck of a game behind me. That’s all you can ask for really.”
“It’s kind of what he’s done all year,” Chargers head coach Chris Floyd said. “He’s finally gotten to the point where he can go pitch-by-pitch. He gets out there and competes one pitch at a time, which is kind of hard to do as a teenager. The really good ones can do that and he was able to do that tonight.”
In the bottom of the second inning, Minter and junior Tyler Hendrickson led the inning off with back-to-back singles.
Minter stole third base and would later race for home on a sac fly by junior Dylan Byrd. The throw from Deer Park right fielder Kolton Fowler was perfect, even beating Minter to home, but Minter eluded the catcher’s tag, reaching over his glove and slamming his hand on the plate for the game’s winning, and only, run.
“Their kid made a good throw and it was bang-bang. Drew made a good slide and got in there. We had other opportunities to score runs, but we ran ourselves out of innings,” said Floyd.
Schultz faced two situations with a Deer Park runner at second base and both times led his team out of it.
Schultz faced his biggest pressure situation in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs. He allowed a double to Mark Barrow and a bad choice on a relay throw on the double resulted in an E4, and Barrow advanced to third base with two outs.
Schultz however induced a long groundout to shortstop, which Robbie Sarvis scooped up and fired it to first for the out.
“It’s very important (to win Game 1). Especially against a team like (Deer Park), they are very good and they are very deep,” Schultz said.
Game 2 of the best of three series will be played at Crosby High School. at 7:30 p.m. today.