CARY, N.C.--Led by a trio of tough righthanders, The Canterbury School (Fort Myers, Fla.) shut out Hamilton High (Chandler, Ariz.) 7-0 in both team’s National High School Invitational opener on Wednesday afternoon.
With contributions from up and down the lineup, the Cougars took an early 3-0 lead in the second frame and never looked back, led by righthanded hurlers Sam Keating, Cooper Swanson and 2018 Danny Cunningham.
Keating impressed all in attendance as the Clemson commit showed a good curveball to complement his low-90s fastball. He allowed just two hits over his four innings, walking one and striking out four. The two-way player added a sacrifice fly in his four trips to the plate.
"What you see is what you get from Sam,” Cougars head coach Frank Turco said. "He's been probably the most consistent pitcher in all my years of coaching. He's going to give you that each time out. He's going to be around the dish, he's going to spot his pitches up, he's going to have a lot of movement on his ball, and he's a fierce competitor."
Swanson, a Florida State commit, added 1.2 frames before reaching his daily pitch limit, walking the bases loaded and then getting two strikeouts to escape the jam in his first frame, before adding two quick outs in the sixth. Cunningham allowed two hits, a walk and struck out one in his 1.1 innings.
"They pound the zone really hard," Hamilton head coach Mike Woods said. "Especially (Keating) did an excellent job of getting ahead of us, and truthfully just took it to us. And just hat's off to him and to them. They outpitched us and they outhit us. It was that simple."
The Huskies failed to capitalize on their four hits, seven free passes, a Cougars error and a hit batsman, leaving 10 runners stranded and never finding a way to begin to catch up.
"We had opportunities," Woods said. "(And) all seven of their runs were scored with two outs. They got four two-out RBI hits and they got a passed ball for the seventh run with two outs and we left 10 guys on base.
"So we can get an out, we can get a knock; it can be a different game. It wasn't, and that's just the way it played out. They hit better and they pitched better, and it's hard to win a game (like that). It wasn't like we beat ourselves or something, today no doubt that they were the better team."
Canterbury second baseman Cooper Weiss got his team on the board with a two-run double in the second, Cunningham following with an RBI single, his first of two hits in the game. First baseman Donovan Duvall and left fielder Alec Babb each drove a run in for the Cougars.
"When our kids buy into what we're selling about being a team, it feels good," Turco said. "They'll give up their at-bats to move a guy over, and just the little things get them excited now and that's what I take pride in. And the team is first and the outcome, whether it be a win or loss, is second."