BHS baseball splits twinbills with Ottawa, Spring Hill
SPRING HILL — Nate Growcock became the hero for the Baldwin High School baseball team on the mound and at the plate here Tuesday night.
The BHS junior hit the game-winning single in the top of the eighth inning. Then he came out and completed his win on the mound. He helped the Bulldogs beat the Broncos 2-0 in the first game of the doubleheader. BHS (2-5) lost the second game to split with the Broncos.
“It was pretty exciting,” Growcock said. “I was throwing strikes and feeling pretty good. My teammates made a lot of good plays behind me. I was glad we were able to pull out the win.”
Growcock pitched all eight innings of the opening game. He allowed only four hits during the contest.
“What a pitching performance tonight by Nate Growcock,” coach Brock Hartshorn said. “He threw an eight-inning shutout in high school baseball. Wow. We went out and showed what we can do when we play defense.”
With Growcock’s pitching keeping the Broncos scoreless, the Bulldogs just needed to produce one run to win the game. After seven innings, neither team scored, so extra innings were needed to settle the Frontier League contest.
In the top of the eighth inning, freshman Taylor Hartshorn hit a one-out single to get a BHS player on base. Junior Josh Hoffman ripped a double to move Hartshorn to third. Junior Will Von Bargen was walked, loading the bases.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of pressure, because it was 0-0,” Growcock said. “I decided to put the ball in play and I hit it hard. It played out for me well. I was a lot more relaxed on the mound with two runs under our belt.”
Growcock drove a ball through the Broncos’ defense to record a two-RBI single. Hartshorn and Hoffman scored on the hit. BHS ended the inning leading 2-0 and that would be enough for the win.
“I’m proud of the way our kids played in that first game,” said B. Hartshorn, father and BHS coach. “It showed the kind of team they could be this season.”
“Taylor Hartshorn hit really well tonight,” he said. “He’s had back-to-back 5-for-6 doubleheaders. As our nine hitter, that was huge to come up with a one-out single in extra innings. I don’t give him a lot of compliments, because he is a coach’s son, but he did have another great night tonight.”
Unfortunately for Baldwin, the second game quickly became a rout. Spring Hill scored one run in the first inning and another in the second, before the Bulldogs recorded two outs. However, the Bulldogs were unable to record another out before Spring Hill racked up 13 more runs. Once the inning was over, the Broncos led 15-0.
Baldwin did keep the game from ending in the third inning by run rule. BHS scored two runs in the third and three more in the fourth inning as it began to mount a small comeback.
Spring Hill ended the game in the bottom of the fourth inning with three runs to take an 18-5 lead. BHS batted in the fifth inning, but scored no runs.
“We played defense behind Nate and won 2-0,” B. Hartshorn said. “In the second game, we didn’t play defense as well and they hit the ball well. They jumped ahead and one inning killed us. We’ve got to stop the big inning and once we do, we’re going to be a good ball team. We are playing better than we did a couple of weeks ago.”
The Bulldogs did play their first home games of the season last week. They hosted Ottawa on Friday and split the doubleheader. Ottawa won the first game 10-4, but Baldwin scored six runs in the first inning of the second contest en route to winning 7-6.
“It was good to end on a good note like that and to beat Ottawa, who is a really good team,” Growcock said. “They went 44-3 in (American) Legion ball this summer, I believe. It was a quality win and we hope to use that as a springboard for the rest of our season.”
BHS will play a single game at 4:30 p.m. today at home. Then they will travel to Louisburg on Tuesday for a doubleheader.