Stewart shutouts BurkeBlue Ridge High sophomore has not allowed a run in 10 innings
MORGANTON — This past spring, Hunter Stewart was just a lanky 6-foot-3 sophomore right-handed pitcher for Blue Ridge High School.
In Wednesday night’s Area IV West Division Senior American Legion baseball game against Burke County 21, Stewart was a man among boys in his first start for the Dragoons.
The righty hurled seven shutout innings, striking out five, scattering three hits in leading Haywood Post 47 past Burke County, 3-0.
The win was the second in a row for Caleb McConnell’s ballclub and improved its record to 2-2 in the West and 3-4 overall.
“That was an impressive performance by Hunter,” said McConnell. “He just took the ball and pitched great for seven innings. Now, we didn’t hit the ball well, but we played outstanding defense to get another win.”
In addition to the seven innings Wednesday night, Stewart also threw three scoreless innings in relief for the Dragoons on Sunday, which raised his scoreless inning streak to 10 consecutive innings.
Zach Lennane (Tuscola) retired six batters in a row to close out the game’s final two innings with no problems and earned the save.
The Dragoons, which had only seven hits and stranded six runners in the game, scored one run in the top of the first.
Little did they know at the time, that was all Stewart and Lennane needed to preserve the win.
In the first, shortstop Lancelot Edwards (Rabun Gap) lined a double into left-center gap and stole third four pitches later. But the throw to third sailed down the line and Edwards trotted home to give Haywood Post 47 a 1-0 lead.
The Dragoons made it 2-0 in the top of the third, when Edwards, who singled, scored on Thomas Tatham’s line-drive single to right center.
Post 47 scored one more run in the ninth when Pepe Payero (Rabun Gap) walked to lead off the inning, went to second on a single by Noah Heatherly (Tuscola), then promptly stole third and three pitches he stole home on a perfectly executed double steal.
Edwards, Lennane and Tatham finished with two hits each, while third baseman Matthew Duverge (Rabun Gap) had a double in four trips.
The Dragoons played Burke County last night at Tuscola Ballpark. At press time, no results were available. McConnell’s ballclub in on the road the next two games, traveling to play Henderson County Post 77 (7 p.m.) tonight and at Asheville Post 70 (Erwin High School) at 3 p.m. on Sunday in a West Division games.
Haywood Post 47 will return to the friendly confines of Tuscola Ballpark to host Rutherford County Post 423 in a 7:05 p.m. Area IV West Division game on Monday, June 9.