SPARTA — It was an unusual hero who stepped up and helped the Highland Scots baseball team win on Monday.
Sophomore Drew Huff went 3-for-3 from the plate, including a triple, while driving in three runs and scoring twice in Highland’s 9-2 victory over North Union in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference action.
Huff’s hits didn’t decide the game — the eventual winning run was scored in the second inning — but each one sparked his team and drew loud cheers from the dugout.
“I wasn’t paying attention to where the ball went,” said Huff on his triple. “I was just worried about getting on base, then doing what the coaches were telling me.”
A humble youngster, Huff gave all the credit to his teammates.
“People put the ball in play, got on base and gave me the opportunity,” said Huff. “Josh (Gahm) put a good bunt down and got Dalton (Stambaugh) in scoring position. It put us in a good position to prevail.”
“(Huff) has put in so much work,” said Highland head coach Travis Church. “He works so hard and is so coachable. He has done a wonderful job with what we’ve asked him to do. He doesn’t try to overdo anything. He stays within himself.”
Highland managed eight hits on the day. Two hits went to Cade Randolph, who scored in the fifth and drove in two runs in the sixth on a double. Jason Hertz, Jett Swetland and Dalton Stambaugh also had hits.
The Scots (10-7, 6-3 MOAC) don’t overwhelm opponents with offense. But they get enough to win when their pitchers click. On Monday, Hertz did more than enough to earn the victory: Seven innings pitched, nine strikeouts, four hits, two walks and two runs allowed.
Hertz’s control was on display against North Union. Out of 98 pitches thrown in the game, 66 were strikes.
“It’s so crucial for us to come out and be focused,” said Church. “We had another great pitching performance from Jason, who continues to be focused and gets us great innings.”
Conversely, North Union’s Nate Bigham was rattled early. After hitting Cade Randolph with a pitch in the first, he allowed base hits by Huff and Stambaugh in the second for the first run of the game. After Alec Harris walked, Hertz knocked in two runs with a double over the centerfielder’s head. Then, in the fourth, after back-to-back walks, Huff had his two-RBI triple, and Bigham was chased from the game.