A fun game of one-upping your teammate has begun among the Homer Central baseball team’s pitchers.
Many times this season Jason Haselkorn, Casey Hayes, Bryant Quinlan and Joey Tummino have tossed no-hitters, one-hitters or two-hitters. One sets the standard for the week and the next man up tries to beat it.
Haselkorn was up Monday and the senior tossed a one-hitter as the seventh-seeded Trojans posted a 9-1 Section 3 Class B win over 26th seed Central Valley Academy at Homer High School. The Trojans (11-5 overall) were slated to host 10th seed Lowville (7-7) this afternoon in a second-round game at 5 p.m. back at Preble Park. Lowville downed 23rd seed Jordan-Elbridge by the identical 9-1 score Monday.
“I had a lot help behind me,” Haselkorn said. “They (Central Valley) put the ball in play and the defense was there. A lot of guys did their jobs today. You’ve got to credit all the guys on the team. It awesome to play back at the high school. You have a lot more people here. It’s different and awesome to play in front of your fans.”
“Jason looked good today,” Homer coach Robert Nasiatka said. “He was in control. He did walk a guy and gave up an infield single. He didn’t get his no-hitter, but I’ll take a one hitter. I’ll take one-hitters the rest of the week. These guys are all competitive when they take the mound. We are set up nicely for tomorrow. Hitting-wise, Casey is hot right now. We will battle tomorrow.”
Homer jumped on Thunder freshman pitcher Mitch Arndt for three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Jackson Brazo had a lead off walk and stole second base. Brazo scored on a double by Hayes. After Quinlan walked with one out, the Trojans pulled off a double steal. CVA catcher Ayden Miner tried to throw out Hayes at third and the ball sailed into left field. Hayes would score and Quinlan went to third base. Quinlan would score later on a wild pitch.
The Trojans plated three more runs in the third inning for a 6-0 cushion. Tummino led off with a double and stole third base. Haselkorn helped his own cause with a single to score Tummino. Haselkorn stole second and third base before Nick Gravel drew a walk. An errant pick-off throw by Arndt allowed Haselkorn to score and Gravel was safe at second. Andrew Hage walked and Arndt was replaced on the mound by Matt Everson. A throwing error by the shortstop on a ground ball by Aaron Newcomb allowed Gravel to score.
The final Homer runs came in the sixth inning. Newcomb, Cody Wagner, Brazo and Hayes all singled. Brazo drove in one run and Hayes two. Andrew Perry came on to pitch for Central Valley and recorded three straight outs to end the Trojan threat.
Haselkorn walked a batter in the top of the second inning and two more in the fourth inning. The double walks led to the only Central Valley run. Nick Green drew the lead off walk. Noah Geloso came in to pinch run and he moved to second on a wild pitch. Haselkorn tried to pick Geloso off at second and threw the ball into the outfield. Geloso went to third on the errant throw and a throw to third went out of play to allow Geloso to score.
Other than that sequence, Haselkorn hit a batter in the fifth inning before Lucas Kleban broke up the no-hitter with an infield single in the sixth inning. Haselkorn fini hed with five strikeouts in the came and the lone unearned run allowed.
Wagner was 2-for-3 at the plate while Hayes was 2-for-4. The Trojans had nine hits in the game and 12 stolen bases. Haselkorn stole three bases and two each by Brazo, Hayes and Quinlan. Tummino, Newcomb and Wagner stole one base each.
With rain in the forecats today, the Trojans might have to wait until Wednesday to play Lowville and the quarterfinals are slated for Thursday. Which scenario for two straight game days is better for the Trojans?
“It doesn’t matter if we play Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday,” Haselkorn said. “We come ready to play every day. Every day we expect the W, we expect to win.”
“It would have been nice to have a practice today, but with a game you can work on things and you see live pitching,” Nasiatka said. “We’ll see if Mother Nature cooperates for tomorrow. We’ve been trained all season long for both possibilities. We’ve had five-game weeks before. We just play one game at a time. If it comes down to it, we will play four or five days in a row.”