CARY, N.C.—On a cold, blustery day at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex, it was no surprise pitching dominated the National High School Invitational’s first day.
That was what made the outburst from Dyer County (Newbern, Tenn.) that much more remarkable.
The Choctaws shook off the cold and battered Aliso Niguel (Aliso, Calif.) 16-1 Wednesday with a 19-hit attack that included three hits and four RBIs from Tennessee Tech commit Tyler Brown and three hits each from senior Tyler Holcomb and junior Trysten Barlow, an Ole Miss commit.
“We came in here swinging it well,” Coach Preston Ozment said. “Our guys were real excited. So, I thought we (could) get on them early, swing the bat, put some runs up. ”
Dyer County’s bats buttressed senior lefthander Paxton Stover (a Mississippi State commit), who gave up just five hits and struck out six in the complete-game win. The game was called after six because of the 12-run rule.
Stover’s fastball registered as high as 86 and he showed a tight curveball as slow as 72 mph he breezed through the first three innings before giving up a run in the fourth. He closed out the game with a 4-6-3 double play after his defense let him down in the sixth on two questionably called hits.
“I have one goal and that’s throwing strikes,” Stover said. “At the end, we had a good lead (and) I was trying to throw strikes and keep the ball down and things just went our way.”
His coach was impressed as well.
“I wanted him to finish the game,” Ozment said. “He’s been our guy and he’s a bulldog. (He) threw a lot of first-pitch strikes, and that was our goal.”
Senior Cody Purvis will start Dyer County’s next game, Ozment said.
For Aliso Niguel, junior righthander Kyle Molnar, a UCLA commit, did not get the start on the mound, as had been speculated. Molnar, who pitched last Friday, did start the game in center field before leaving in the sixth for a pinch hitter.
The bright spot for the Wolverines was sophomore catcher Blake Sabol, a member of the USA Baseball 15-and-under National Team in 2013. Sabol had a triple off Stover and scored Aliso Niguel’s run.
Sabol also threw out a runner attempting to steal second and appeared to throw out a second runner at third, although the umpire ruled that runner safe.