East Hamilton coach Steve Garland played a hunch before Wednesday's District 6-AA baseball final against Central. What resulted was East Hamilton's first district championship, as the Hurricanes defeated Central 3-2.
Garland selected Hunter Smith, a sophomore who had not started a district game, as his starting pitcher against the regular-season champion Purple Pounders. Smith responded by pitching a complete game, allowing five hits and striking out 10 while allowing no earned runs.
"We knew he would be a good matchup," Garland said, "but we weren't sure he would be able to go all the way. To be a sophomore and go the whole way in a game of that magnitude, we are just amazed at his pose and the way he competed. He had electric stuff."
Smith allowed five baserunners over the last six innings he pitched.
Smith was aided by Nic Auger's 2 RBIs, and Hunter Parker's RBI single in the second inning that proved to be the game clincher.
"We had come in second place twice over the last three years, and last year we were 31-4 and got knocked out in the districts, so it's been that elusive title for East Hamilton baseball," Garland noted about East Hamilton's first ever district championship. "We have a great support system, and great kids that love the game. We don't even have a home field, instead, we bounce from place to place. I couldn't be prouder of the guys and how they've stood strong in the face of adversity, being a new school without a home field."