Southampton’s Peck stellar in complete-game shutout of Windsor
Published 3:36 pm Thursday, May 7, 2015
Through 4 1/2 innings, Southampton pitcher Hunter Peck had allowed only one hit; his counterpart, Windsor pitcher Alec Kiser, had surrendered only three. The two senior flamethrowers battled in the scorching sun to a draw, as fastball after fastball — with a curveball mixed in here and there — grew more elusive to their opponent at the plate.
What would ultimately be Kiser’s downfall, though, was his inability to keep the ball in the strike zone. While the Indians were swinging at outside pitches from the onset of the ballgame, the team would adjust by the late frames and watch a couple of pitches go by before taking their first swing of the at bat.
Sure enough, after a leadoff strikeout to open the bottom of the fifth inning, Kiser would walk a batter on four straight pitches to put the go-ahead runner on base with only one out. After a visit to the mound, sophomore Nash Warren jumped on the first pitch he saw — right down the middle — and shot it to the gap in left-center field.
As the leadoff runner, shortstop Brian Craft, rounded the bases and headed toward home at the urging of his third-base coach, the relay beat him to the plate. He was out, dead to rights, but fortunately for the Indians and coach Wes Griffith, catcher Lance Sexton dropped the ball and allowed the run to score.
Warren would advance to third as the catcher chased down the ball near the backstop, and would score when the ensuing batter, third basemen Wesley Pierce, dropped a bloop single to center field.
Armed with a two-run lead that seemed to be infinitely larger, Peck went back to work in the top of the sixth frame. He allowed his second hit of the ballgame to the leadoff batter, but also recorded his sixth strikeout of the game to a roaring applause from the crowd.
Kiser then returned to the mound and put the previous inning behind him, sitting down the side on only eight pitches to keep his team in the game. And as you see so many times in the game of baseball when a player makes a spectacular play and follows that up with a game-changing hit of his own, Kiser helped his own cause in the top of the seventh.
After Peck struck out the first batter he faced and walked the next, Kiser stepped to the plate as the tying run. Kiser looked to have gotten the better of the pitcher-vs-pitcher matchup, crushing a wayward slider down the right-field line. But with the wind blowing from left- to right-field, it trailed just foul and beyond the reach of the chasing outfielder. After several more pitches from Peck, Kiser slapped a shot to the opposite field to put runners on first and second.
Facing what was now the go-ahead run, Peck struck out the final two batters of the game to give the Indians the 2-0 win over the rival Dukes. It was Southampton’s fifth win in their last six contests against Windsor.
Peck, who was celebrating his 18th birthday, was the most valuable player of the game. The senior registered 10 strikeouts and allowed only four hits, two walks and no runs over seven innings. Kiser, meanwhile, recorded seven strikeouts and allowed five hits, four walks and one run in the complete-game loss. One of Southampton’s runs were unearned, as Sexton was tagged with an error on the drop at the plate.
With the win, Southampton moves to 6-5 on the year, 5-3 in the TriRivers District; Windsor drops to 6-5, 4-2. Both teams were in action again on Thursday evening, as Southampton played host to Brunswick and Windsor traveled to Park View, but neither game was complete upon this paper’s deadline. This Tuesday, Southampton plays Park View and Windsor hits the road again to play Greensville County. First pitch of both contests are scheduled for 4:30 p.m.