Coming off a strong outing in a losing cause at North Canton Hoover last Wednesday, Hiland’s Derek Miller found himself on the hill again Monday night as the Hawks hosted Newcomerstown.
Oddly, even though Miller threw very effectively in tossing six innings of one-hit ball for a 10-0 Hiland win over the Trojans, his performance against the Vikings was likely the most impressive.
After Miller retired the Trojans in order in the first, he received all the support he would need when the bottom of the inning turned ugly.
Chris Kline lead off with a walk, stole second and came home on a Mitch Massaro two-out single. Tyson Gingerich then dropped a nifty bunt down the third base line, and, as the Trojan infield congregated around the ball, Massaro sped to third. When Newcomerstown tried to make a play on Massaro, Gingerich advanced to second, drawing a throw which bounced into left-center, allowing Gingerich to come all the way around to score, giving the Hawks a 3-0 lead.
It would be more of the same in the second inning, as Zach Coblentz led off with a walk, stole second and scored on a Kline single. After an Eric Mullet double and a Bryan Yoder sac fly the lead was six.
Doubles by Kline and Yoder had a hand in single tallies for the Hawks in the third and fourth inning, respectively. Two hits, two walks and an error allowed Hiland to finish the job in the sixth, with the tenth run of the evening coming with an Andy Miller bases-loaded walk forcing home the game-ending run.
With Brandon Septer the only Trojan to record a single, eight Hiland starters had at least one hit, with Derek Miller and Kline having two apiece in the Hawks’ 11-hit attack.
On the mound, Bailey Guy took the loss for Newcomerstown, as he was tagged for eight runs (six earned) in his 3 2/3 innings of work. Guy was hurt by his six walks to go with eight Hiland hits. Brayden Russel surrendered the final two Hiland runs.
For the Hawks, Miller struck out six and walked three with his defense providing an errorless effort behind him in support of his one-hitter. Hiland’s defense has been looking much more like what was expected earlier in the year and seems to be rounding into form. It must be noted that shortstop Chris Kline almost pulled off a ridiculous play on Septer’s single in the second, when he did his best Omar impression, ranging deep in the hole at short and bare-handing the high bouncer on the outfield grass. His throw to first was just a hair late to get Septer.
It’s a good defensive roll to get on heading into tournament play, which begins Tuesday, May 10, as #1 seeded Hiland (18-2) will host #18 Woodsfield Monroe Central (2-13).