Lakeland hurler with a near no-no

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lakeland senior Jeremy Hagwood got to within two outs of pitching a no-hitter on Tuesday at city rival King’s Fork as Lakeland cruised to an 8-0 victory.

Hagwood got offensive help early on as the Cavaliers made the Bulldogs pay for defensive mistakes.

In the Lakeland first, leadoff hitter Justin Hike reached on a walk, moved to second on a single by David Waterfield, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Mike Espinosa.

Email newsletter signup

In the Lakeland second, King’s Fork and starting pitcher Joey Aranda had two outs and no runners on.

Ninth-place hitter Brandon Snook walked and Hike singled. A KF error on a grounder by Waterfield allowed Snook to score. A single into right field by Espinosa scored Hike and Waterfield to make it three unearned runs in the frame and a 4-0 Cavalier lead.

Lakeland’s offense steadily added to its cushion in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but the main story the rest of the way was Hagwood’s bid at a no-hitter.

“He really got comfortable from the third inning on. He really had all of his pitches working,” said Lakeland head coach Bruce Hagwood.

Double plays turned by Lakeland’s middle infielders, Hike at shortstop and Waterfield at second base, erased a walk in the second inning and a leadoff error in the KF fourth.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, KF’s George Riddick shot a single between shortstop and third base to break up the no-hitter.

Hagwood finished with a one-hit complete game. He walked two and struck out five. He had help from an extra coach on the Cavalier bench. Tuesday was the first game Jeremy’s brother Jarrett was back with the team after suffering severe fractures of his tibia and fibula bones in a game at Lakeland two weeks ago. Jarrett, who was Lakeland’s starting catcher, was in charge of calling pitches for Jeremy and catcher James Gatling.

Aranda pitched into the fifth inning for the Bulldogs, allowing six runs, three of which were earned. Nick Bowman pitched the last 3.0 innings.

Offensively for the Cavs, Hike and Espinosa each finished 3 for 3 at the plate. Hike also walked twice to reach base in all five plate appearances. Hike scored three times. Gatling added a two-RBI single in the fifth inning.

“We played solid ball today,” said coach Hagwood. “Our goal is to score one run an inning and we basically did that today.”

King’s Fork (3-8, 2-7) and Lakeland (5-7, 4-6) will meet again at Lakeland on Monday, Apr. 27.

Before then, KF hosts Hickory on Friday and the Cavaliers host Nansemond River on Friday. Lakeland will be going for a season sweep over the Warriors.