By Gregg A. Sims
WASHINGTON — Brayden Walls tossed a two-hitter and hit two home runs in a doubleheader for the Washington baseball team at the Sports Complex Saturday.
The 4-0 blanking of Southridge capped a comeback after the Hatchets dropped a 16-6 decision in the opener to Northeast Dubois that included a knee injury to Nathan Sult that delayed the game by 20 minutes.
Sult was attempting to score in the fifth inning on a hit by Jake Bedwell with the Jeeps (10-9) leading 6-3. The relay throw home by Jeep secondbaseman Gage Kniess just beat Sult to the plate, and as catcher Nolan Rasche stepped to his left to apply the tag, he inadvertently stepped on Sult’s knee.
The kneecap was later discovered to have been dislocated, and fell back into place as Sult was removed from the field by EMT’s who had been called to assist.
Sult was taken to Daviess Community Hospital where he was treated for the injury before returning home with a full cast.
While it is hoped the kneecap was the only injury suffered on the play, a final diagnosis will not be known until Sult sees specialists in Jasper on Monday. Sult’s father Todd, who returned to the field after Nathan was treated at the hospital to retrieve equipment he uses as the public address announcer for Hatchet baseball, said there was bruising on the knee where the original injury occurred.
“We wouldn’t have 13 wins this year without Sult behind the plate,” Washington coach Steve Reed said. “He’s been huge for us. I don’t know how he is just yet, but we’ll have to see how it plays out on Monday. That’s all we can do at this point.”
Walls tied the game with the Jeeps early at one with the first of his two home runs on the day in the opening inning.
However, it was the 11-strikeout pitching performance in the nightcap that gave the Hatchets a much needed lift.
Walls retired the first 13 batters he faced against Southridge (13-7) in a favorable 1-0 dual with Raider Jacob Brewer. Walls¹s second home run, the ball struck the upper center of the right field scoreboard on the fly in the fourth inning, gave Washington the lead on the Hatchets’ third hit of the game.
Brewer broke up the perfect game with the first Raider hit in the fifth.
“That¹s what He (Brayden) does,” Reed said. “It’s been like that every start (Walls is 8-0 on the season). He’s getting into unchartered territory, The school record is nine wins for a season.”
Those nine wins were earned in 1997 by Dustin Barnard. Walls tied the school mark or eight held by Kevin Decker (2006), Tony Barnard (1989), Barnard (1996), Danny Weaver (1973), Chris Clements (1991) and Kevin Chapman (1976).
“The thing I liked about today was - the Dubois game didn’t turn out the way we wanted - and Brayden goes out and puts on a he-man performance. It was huge.”
Bedwell caught the shutout after seeing little, if any, time behind the plate this season.
“I though Jake did a great job behind the plate in the second game,” Reed said. “He hasn’t had any looks behind the plate. He got thrown in there and caught a shutout. That’s all you need to say.”
Tyler Edmiston put the game away at the plate for Washington in the sixth with a three-run blast of his own that scored Bedwell and Walls who had reached to open the inning with singles.
“We came in the sixth inning and I said we had to add on,” Reed said. “It’s easier to play defense when you’ve got a little cushion. The three-run home run by Edmiston was huge. That was three big runs.”
Edmiston’s shot was amazing in its own right, after the Washington senior injured his left shoulder in the opener.
Edmiston was pitching in relief of Bedwell in the sixth inning when he walked off the mound with a 2-0 count after throwing a ball. He held his arm, and was removed from the game holding his arm at the elbow.
“He threw a pitch and he said he felt pain in his shoulder and it shot down through his arm,” Reed said. “It was scary. Sult’s out obviously, Edmiston goes down. We’re not real deep as it is, and it was fortunate that Ed was able to come back.”
Edmiston has recovered from past Tommy John surgery, and ice was brought into the dugout as physical training personnel checked his condition.
At the conclusion of the first game, Edmiston stretched the arm and shoulder with an exercising device, and he was cleared to play first base in the second game. After the nightcap, Edmiston was expected to ice the shoulder over the weekend.
Bedwell went behind the plate after the injury to Sult, and then finished the second game. Having Bedwell catch is fine with the Hatchets, but it could potentially remove him from future mound duties.
And with a busy schedule that includes games on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and the Washington Invitational Saturday, Sult’s and Edmiston’s conditions will be an important part to Washington’s plans.
“We’re just going to have to have some of the younger guys step up and take a few innings here and there,” Reed said. “We’re probably going to have to hit the ball.”
Northeast Dubois 100 237 3 - 16 13 2
Washington 101 013 0 - 6 6 3
Bryce Huebner and Nolan Rasche. Jake Bedwell, Tyler Edmiston (5), Colton Garland (6) and Nathan Sult, Bedwell (5). W- Huebner. L-Bedwell. HR: W, Brayden Walls. 2B: ND, Cameron Riecker (2), Kristopher Weisheit, W, Max Smith, Bedwell, Walls, Tyler Seibert.
Southridge 000 000 0 - 0 2 0
Washington 000 103 x - 4 6 1.
Jacob Brewer and Brett Nordhoff. Walls and Bedwell. W- Walls.. L-Brewer. HR:
W, Walls, Edmiston. 2B: S, Nathan Tretter.