Logan catcher Zach Minnick shows the ball to the umpire after tagging out Hurricane's Riley Metz (21) at home plate.
HURRICANE, W.Va. - Early in the game, Hurricane couldn't quite stay out of its own way, but with Austin Hensley throwing darts on the mound, the Redskins eventually found their way.Hensley went the distance, scattering six hits and striking out seven Thursday to lead the state-ranked Redskins to a 2-0 victory over Logan at Lola Meeks Memorial Field."He's a bulldog. He's a tough kid,'' Hurricane coach Brian Sutphin said of Hensley. "I thought he pitched in rhythm more tonight. He seemed to have command of all his pitches.''Hurricane (5-1), the No. 2 team in the Gazette's Class AAA ratings, pushed across a pair of runs in the fourth inning, scoring on a bases-loaded walk to Trey Dawson and then a balk by Logan starter Johnny Morrison.
Those two runs, along with the superb effort by Hensley (2-1), made up for a bushel of earlier missed opportunities.The Redskins had four hits and two walks in the first three innings and another runner reached on a Logan error, but each chance was frittered away and the game remained scoreless. In that stretch, Logan picked off a pair of baserunners, threw another out at the plate and Wildcats second baseman Trent Dalton dived to spear a hot grounder and record a forceout."I thought we ran ourselves out of a couple of innings,'' Sutphin said, "and we made a couple of boneheaded baserunning plays."I thought their kid [Morrison] threw well . . . and I just thought we didn't have a good approach at the plate. But I thought Austin threw well and we played good defense behind him. There's an awful lot of good things to take out of it, but there's an awful lot of improvement that needs to be made.''Morrison probably deserved a better fate. He allowed two unearned runs in five innings, fanning five and walking three, and also made a fine defensive play in the fifth.Hurricane also flashed a couple of defensive gems. Left fielder Alexander Dunham made a sliding catch to rob Dalton of extra bases in the third and first baseman Riley Metz leaped to snag Kyle Harvey's hot smash to lead off the seventh."My approach,'' Hensley said, "was to get ahead early, stay after them and let my defense make plays. They can hit the ball. You hear about Logan always having a good team, so I came ready to play.''Hensley shrugged off his team's early misfires on offense."You just have to stay humble about that,'' he said, "because everybody makes mistakes and it's still early. Hopefully we can get hot and get on a streak with our hitting.''Tate Brock, 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles, was the only Redskins player with more than one hit. Josh Rein went 2 for 3 for the Wildcats (2-1).Logan coach Roger Gertz tried to look at all sides of the issue. His team played decent defense, but did give away two runs with an error and balk. On offense, the Wildcats were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, but three potential extra-base hits down the line turned into foul balls, missing by 2 feet or less.
"It's learning baseball. It's just inexperience,'' Gertz said. "We had opportunities and we couldn't get a big hit when we needed it. We didn't execute the little things."But in fairness to our kids - and to anybody - you've been hitting in a building and now you get out here and now you've got to pick up whether it's a fastball or curve or change, and the depth perception's different. I'm not so disappointed that we're not hitting it yet, but I'm disappointed with their approach to hitting. A couple of our kids are good baseball players and they're getting way out in front.''Both Hurricane and Logan leave this weekend to play in the Mingo Bay Classic in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area next week."Hopefully we'll get some warm weather down at the beach,'' Gertz said, "and get some swings and we'll get better. I think by the end of the year we'll be a pretty solid baseball team. Defensively, we are pretty solid.''Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.