David Hagelston was cruising on the mound, so he had growing confidence when it came to finishing the job. But he knew nothing would help more than another run.
So, with bat in hands, the Westside player got the pitch he hoped for in the bottom of the sixth, crushed it for a double and later came in to score a key run for the Patriots.
Hagelston had a great game pitching and helped the Patriots pick up a 4-2 home win Tuesday evening against Harlem.
With the win, the Patriots stayed undefeated in Region 3-AA.
“It was pretty big,” Hagelston said about his hit. “It was a fastball straight down the middle.”
A junior, Hagelston didn’t allow a run after the second inning. Though Harlem led 2-0 after RBI from Collin Beasley and Cody Harman, Hagelston retired nine in a row from the end of the fourth until there were two out in the seventh. The lone blemish during that stretch came from an error.
With Hagelston setting down hitters, Westside (12-4 overall, 6-0 region) had time to rally. But the Patriots got some help with Harlem fielding troubles. In the bottom of the third, Westside got its first run on an error when a throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. An inning later, the Patriots tied the game on a dropped fly ball.
Playing with a 3-2 lead thanks to an RBI grounder from Frank Fleming, Westside then neared its two-run edge as Hagelston led off the bottom of the sixth with a double.
Later, the courtesy runner came in to score on a Chandler Silas ground out.
Now pitching with a slightly larger cushion, Hagelston earned the win by silencing the top of the Harlem lineup in the seventh.
Harlem dropped to 6-10 overall and 4-2 in the region with the loss.
“The whole region has been close. Any game could have gone either way,” said Westside coach Gerald Barnes, whose team has close region wins against Dublin, Harlem and Screven County. “But we’ll get to see them again.”