Although the season is young, with many battles yet to come for the Liberty Hawks baseball team, their recent play on the diamond indicated they are one of the teams to beat in the North Sequoia League.
“Well, I have to hand it to our pitching staff. They got off to a hot start today throwing strikes and pounding the strike zone, while keeping the walks down,” Liberty head coach Mario Cosma said. “They’ve been giving us a chance to stay in every game especially with this game against Washington Union.
“It was a little bullpen-by-committee with the rain being an issue. For us to be able to scatter three hits, get eight strikeouts and get the shutout, really gives your team an opportunity to be in a ball game, but also win a ball game. I’m just really happy how are pitching staff was able to come together under the conditions.”
The Hawks relied on the pitching trio of Gage Arter, Nathanael Samarin and Chase Schellenger to silence the Washington Union Panthers, 3-0, to move to 2-0 in the NSL.
Arter pitched four strong innings, striking out four without rendering a hit. His performance set the tone for the other pitchers as they followed suit. Samarin and Schellenger combined for three innings pitched, three hits allowed and four strikeouts.
Despite only three runs, the Hawks approach at the plate was pleasing for Cosma. Trevor Porter had a hit and two runs, along with Bradley Moon with had two hits and an RBI.
“I was very happy with our approach at the plate, we’ve been focusing on that a lot this season. Trevor played a really good game for us and he made some big plays for us on the base paths,” Cosma said. “We got some key hits in key moments and some quality pitching to go along with it. You just hope the trend continues. We are off to a good start and we have a long season of course, but I just hope the trend continues.”
Washington Union was unable to scratch a runon any pitcher the Hawks put on the mound. They recorded three hits, but also struck out eight times.
While the Panthers’ offense was anemic, their pitching was a strength. The Panthers only allowed three runs — one run in three different innings — and struck our four Hawks.
Liberty took home the close win, but to repeat as Division V champions, the Hawks must look to improve.
“We’re always focusing on throwing strikes and playing solid defense. We are kind of a work in progress there, but I think as you start to progress through the season, that’s some of the things you are looking for,” Cosma said on improvements down the road. “If you’re playing solid defense and throwing strikes, you are going to have a chance to win innings and potentially games, so that’s really our emphasis and focus.
“Our guys know our philosophy of fundamental defense and they approach that that as part of the game. I hope that it continues to improve, and we are starting to see some significant improvements at the plate, but as a coaching staff we really want to see our defense improve and cut down some of the runs teams get off our defense.”