CARY, N.C.—Katon Harwood carried a no-hitter into the seventh before settling for a one-hit shutout in pitching T.C. Roberson High (Asheville, N.C.) to a 7-0 win against Florida Christian High in a consolation round matchup at the National High School Invitational.
Coming off a loss in its opener on Wednesday, Roberson knew it could count on a strong outing from Harwood, a junior righthander committed to Clemson, and he more than delivered.
“We look for guys that give us energy as a team,” Roberson coach Eric Filipek said. “Without a doubt, he put energy in every one of our players. We all know he has the ability to do that every outing.”
Harwood retired the first 13 hitters he faced before losing his perfect game bid on an error. Unfazed, he struck out the next two batters and kept the no-hitter intact until Florida Christian’s Milton Ramos singled up the middle following a leadoff error in the seventh.
“He kept us off balance all day,” Florida Christian coach Chris Brigman said. “He was getting ahead with that fastball on the inner portion. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t make the adjustment. Again, all the credit to him. To throw a one-hitter against us, that’s a great job by him.”
The Patriots’ hitters tried to disrupt Harwood as best they could, but the righthander was on a roll, spotting his fastball and curveball, and he let his defense do its job behind him, finishing the game without issuing any walks. Harwood struck out seven.
“The game plan was just to stay smooth, have rhythm, let my teammates behind me take over the game for me—let them hit the ball,” Harwood said.
Cleanup hitter Nate Blaylock paced Roberson’s offense, going 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and two runs scored. Florida Christian started its ace, Louisiana State signee Christian Pelaez, but the lefthander struggled with his command and was pitching in and out of trouble most of the day. Pelaez made some big pitches early to escape a two-on jam in the first and a bases-loaded jam in the second, but Roberson broke through for two in the third, keyed by Blaylock’s double.
Roberson broke the game open with two more in the fourth and three in the fifth as Pelaez continued to labor. With Harwood putting up shutdown innings on the other side, the Patriots had little chance to gain any momentum.
“That (Harwood’s quick innings) was key,” Filipek said. “The more time you spend in your dugout on offense, the more it’s gonna help your team.”