Darton starting pitcher Casey Moody threw seven innings of no-hit baseball Tuesday during the Cavs’ region game against Andrew College. Moody (4-0) struck out five in the 9-3 win. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — After Tuesday’s 9-3 win against Region XVII rival Andrew College, Darton baseball coach Scott Hemmings shrugged off his team’s streak of 19 victories in 20 games.
A few seconds later, he admitted he didn’t even realize his team was undefeated at home this season.
But just mention his players who have put together those streaks, and that’s when he gets impressed.
“This is a special group,” Hemmings said about his nationally-ranked No. 16 Cavs, who improved to 25-5 overall and 12-1 in the region with Tuesday’s win. “I don’t know how we are going to replace these sophomores. We just have five weeks left with them this season, and I’m sad. I can’t imagine replacing this group. They have a chance to win 75-80 games in two years.”
The Cavs’ remarkable run continued Tuesday night when they jumped on Andrew ace Richard Nason with five runs in the first inning and then rode starter Casey Moody to an easy victory to move to 14-0 at home.
Darton has needed several late-inning miracles and come-from-behind rallies in the past month to keep its streak alive.
But Tuesday’s game was never in doubt after the Cavs strung together five hits and five runs in the first inning.
Moody pitched seven innings of two-hit baseball, struck out five and allowed just one run against an Andrew team that entered the game third in the region standings with one of the best offenses.
Moody just made it look easy.
“I made the comment (before the game) that I thought (Andrew) would have the best offense we will face in the conference,” Hemmings said. “They had 25 more doubles than us coming into the game, so they have some hitters up there. But Casey Moody was dominant (Tuesday). That’s the guy we signed, and we finally saw him (Tuesday). Even on a cold night, he was throwing 88-91 (mph) and was absolutely dominant.”
Moody improved to 4-0 on the mound in what he said was likely his best start of the season.
“At the beginning (of the game) I was just trying to through it as hard as I could, but I took about 75 to 80 percent off and started hitting my spots,” said Moody, a freshman right-hander from Williamson. “The guys behind me played really well, and we swung it well, too.”
The Cavs batted through the lineup in the first inning, getting a two-run double from Kyle Conkle and RBI from Casey James, Brandon Sharpe and Tripp Calhoun.
It was the kind of start Darton was looking for after struggling in recent mid-week games, including Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to West Georgia Tech that broke the Cavs’ school record-tying 15-game win streak.
“The last few Tuesday’s we have been pretty flat,” Sharpe said. “(Nason) leads the conference in strikeouts, and we wanted to really jump on him, put pressure on him and not let him get settled in. We had a game plan, and we stuck to it.”
Nason, who pitched for Hemmings at Central High School in Columbus, kept the Cavs off the scoreboard for the next five innings, but a three-run double to deep center from Sharpe in the seventh inning broke the backs of the Tigers (15-16, 6-3), who entered the game on a three-game winning streak.
“I got a good pitch to hit,” Sharpe said. “Nason is a really good pitcher and likes to work off-speed and likes to pitch backwards a little bit. I was looking to hit the ball either way, and luckily I got a pitch to hit.”
Sharpe finished the game 2-for-4 with four RBI and was one of eight Cavs to get a hit. Conkle was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs, while Cody Wofford, Ferrell and James each had two singles.
Andrew’s lone run off Moody came in the third inning when Avery White tripled and then Cody Evans knocked him in, and the Tigers scored two more in the top of the ninth when White hit a two-run double.
White and Pelham native Brandon Bostick — who made a series of acrobatic catches in center field, including a diving snag in the second inning — both finished with two hits for Andrew.