Two days after suffering its first league loss of the season, the Pinewood School baseball team got even with Thomas More High – and pulled even with the Knights in the standings.
The host Panthers prevailed 4-1 Thursday, avenging a 16-7 loss to More April 25 in San Jose that dropped them out of first place in the Private School Athletic League South Division.
“It was the first game that we played against Thomas More, and they’re one of the best teams that we’ve faced all year,” said Casey Rowe, in his first season as Pinewood’s coach. “So we kind of gave up some runs early and we fell a little bit flat. But today we were ready for them.”
After getting out of trouble in the first inning Thursday, Panthers pitcher Jackson “Huck” Haun settled in and went the distance. The junior allowed just two hits and one run – unearned – and struck out 12 batters.
“Everybody on the team kind of came together as one,” said Haun, who improved to 5-0. “Everyone is making plays. Everyone is getting on base. Not one person did anything. It was a team effort. If we play like that every game, I think we have the best team in this league.”
Pinewood (6-1 league, 9-4 overall) came from behind to get the win. The Knights scored in the top of the third when a throw to first base on a grounder by Patrick Enriquez went through the fielder’s legs, allowing Xavier Selway to score from third.
More (9-2, 15-4) didn’t lead for long. The Panthers put up four runs in the fourth to pull away.
Kolton Budge led off the inning with a double and Casey Bates soon walked. Jack Ahrens then hit a single that landed between the Knights’ centerfielder and shortstop. That brought home Budge to tie the game at 1. Liam Smith then grounded out to score Bates.
The next batter, Marcus Fox, hit a grounder that More’s first baseman raced toward second to grab, but no one covered first. That brought home Ahrens to make the score 3-1.
Another error allowed Pinewood to score its fourth and final run. The Knights made a throwing error after Chris Burton singled, enabling Fox to score from second.
The four runs were more than enough to secure the victory with Haun on the mound. Pinewood’s ace leads the league in strikeouts and ERA.
“I don’t really pay much attention to that,” said Haun, who also tops the Panthers in batting average and on-base percentage. “I’m more about the wins for the team, and we want this league championship, too. (The stats are) kind of a side note, but it’s nice, I guess.”
Pinewood had the chance to score more runs in the sixth, but Burton left two runners stranded when he popped up to end the inning.
“We hit the ball,” Rowe said. “We could have done some things better. I could have put the game in motion a little bit more (and) maybe we would have gotten another run or two. You never know. I thought our guys did great. They executed. We got our bunts down when we needed to.”
Pinewood, which opened this week with back-to-back games, is slated to visit Summit Preparatory 4 p.m. Thursday.