With first place in District 6-AA on the line, East Hamilton baseball coach Steve Garland knew the importance of sending a well-rested pitcher to the mound.
Having thrown just two innings in the two weeks since returning from a school trip to New York, Hayden Williams was the most rested Hurricanes pitcher. The senior right-hander handcuffed Red Bank, allowing just two Lions hits, while striking out seven in a 7-0 victory Monday.
Williams (5-2) was able to relax after the Hurricanes scored four runs in the second inning.
"Getting those early runs really made it so much easier for me to just throw and not worry about having to be perfect," Williams said. "I've felt pretty rested since I haven't thrown much lately, so I was glad to get the chance to go against them.
"I felt really good as soon as we got here and I started loosening up. I thought I would be able to use all my pitches. We've still got work to do, but it feels really good to get this one because they really had our number last year. This will be a confidence boost for us as a team."
East Hamilton (22-3, 10-1) got a boost from No. 8 hitter Jason McElvain, who went 2-for-3 and scored twice. He got the offense kickstarted with a base hit in the second inning, eventually scoring on Brandon Williams' two-run single. Although the Hurricanes had just one extra-base hit, Brandon Williams' double, they got hits from six players, including Logan Templeton, who was 2-2 with an RBI.
Hayden Williams also drove in a run.
"Getting that big early inning was huge for us," Garland said. "We knew it would be a challenge coming over here, but we had several kids step up. And any time you get those big innings early, it really allows your pitcher to just breathe and concentrate on throwing strikes. And that's what Hayden did once he got that lead."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.