By Dennis Glade
WASHINGTON — As the calendar has turned to May and the sun is shining, the Washington baseball team has found a good rhythm, and senior Brayden Walls is leading the charge.
Washington (11-6) won its third straight game with a 7-0 victory over Sullivan (7-9) at the Sports Complex behind a dominating complete game performance from Walls.
Walls entered the game with a 1.00 ERA on the season and he didn’t disappoint the Hatchet fans who showed up to see the Washington ace pitch. Walls walked two, allowed three hits and struck out 11 Sullivan batters including five in the first two innings.
“Brayden (Walls) is just locked in,” said Washington coach Steve Reed. ”Every year I’ve been fortunate enough to witness some really good performances by seniors going back to Logan Hawthorne, Ethan Hunsinger, Matt Hooten with his big season with 11 home runs, Jalen Hyde’s monster year last year and now Walls. For me as a coach it’s a joy for me to watch young men have seasons like Walls is having this year with both the bat and on the mound ¬ it¹s amazing what he is doing.”
Freshman Jake Bedwell singled and scored in the first inning on a throwing error by Sullivan shortstop Tucker Smith to get the Hatchets on the board in the first inning. Walls doubled in Nathan Sult in the third inning after Sult led off the inning with a walk.
Bedwell doubled in the third inning and later walked. Reed has been impressed with how the freshman has continued to improve throughout the season with a .380 batting average and a 4.60 ERA on the mound.
“Jake’s a ballplayer, there’s no freshman about Jake,” Reed said. “The kid has been playing travel ball his whole life. He’s locked in at the plate, and there’s no problem hitting him out of the two-hole as a freshman.”
Washington added five more runs over the final three innings on just three hits as they were able to capitalize on seven walks and three hit batters. Five of the seven walks that were administered to Washington batters came around to score.
“If you go back and look in a high school baseball game more often than not guys that reach on errors or walk end up scoring,” Reed said. “You want the other team to earn their way on, and other teams are going to do that to us and we realize that.”
After a 5-2 start to the season, the Hatchets had a bit of a lull over the next seven games with a record of 3-4, Washington appears to be finding its rhythm and Reed said it starts with getting quality innings from his starters.
“We’ve stressed from the beginning, we want to play our best ball in May,” Reed said. “The key is Bedwell and (Tyler) Edmiston ¬ if they can go out and give us a solid six or seven innings every time they pitch ¬ we know what we’re getting out of Walls. We’ve gotten that out of Bedwell and Edmiston in their last starts they’ve had and that¹s why you see that three in a row.”
Sullivan 000 000 0 ¬ 0 4 2
Washington 101 122 x ¬ 7 8 0
Walls and Sult; Kuppler, Klitz (5th) and McNeely. W-Walls L-Kuppler. 2B: (W) Bedwell, Walls; (S) Harrison