SEE ALSO: Complete NHSI Coverage
CARY, N.C.—In its second game Thursday at the National High School Invitational at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, Hamilton High (Chandler, Ariz.) threw its second shutout of the day. The Huskies used their strong pitching performance and a six-run second inning to defeat tournament host Hough High (Cornelius, N.C.), 7-0.
Coach Mike Woods said Hamilton feels much better following Thursday’s victories than it did following a loss Wednesday.
“We were really disappointed in the way we played the first day,” Woods said. “Now we’re feeling pretty good. I still don’t think we’ve played our best baseball, I’m talking about the whole season as well as the last couple days. I think there’s a lot more in the tank with this bunch of guys. It’s nice to get two today, that’s for sure.”
Seniors Dominic Hamel, Cesare DeLuca and Andrey Arnett combined for a four-hit shutout. Hamel struck out one and held Hough to one hit and one walk in three innings. DeLuca followed three scoreless innings of his own, striking out three and allowing two hits. Arnett finished the game with a scoreless seventh.
Hamel walked and hit a batter in the first inning, but settled in to retire eight of the final nine batters he faced, effectively mixing his fastball and split-change. He said getting the lead helped settle him.
“That first inning I was struggling and then getting on the board helped me out,” said Hamel, who is committed to Yavapai (Ariz.) JC. “It gave me some confidence and I started going after hitters and getting outs.”
Hamilton scored all of its runs against Hough sophomore lefthander J.D. Brock, who is committed to Clemson. Brayden Merritt led off the second inning by getting hit by a pitch. He was the first of five straight batters to reach and score.
Drew Swift delivered a two-run triple and came around to score to punctuate the six-run inning.
Swift, an Arizona State commit, said he wanted to be aggressive so Brock couldn’t get to his curveball.
“I just got up there and tried to get that fastball early in the count and that worked out for me,” he said.
Hamel and Swift agreed the highlight of Thursday was the back-to-back shutouts, which will make Friday’s off day a bit more enjoyable as well.
“We’ve had a fantastic time the last couple days,” Swift said. “The hospitality’s been sweet. I love it.”