• 77°

Mathews throws no-hitter,

Neeley has powerful day

By STEVEN G. WATSON

Sports Editor

You know you’re having a good day at the ballpark when the opposing fans groan every time you come up to bat.

That’s exactly what the folks who made the trip from Enterprise were doing whenever Jonathan Neeley stepped to the plate in the Charles Henderson High Trojans’ sweep of the EHS Wildcats Saturday.

The Trojans held on to win a 5-3 contest against EHS in the first game of the double-header and got a five-inning no-hitter out of senior Hunter Mathews in the second ending things early with a 10-0 shutout.

Neeley had more than enough offense to back up his teammate on the mound as the senior slugger went 3-for-3 in the second game with a two-run homer and two singles to rack up a healthy four RBI’s.

CHHS was never in danger of being scored upon, but as most no-hitters go, you’re never sure until that final batter is dealt with.

"I kind of knew I had one, but I had someone tell me right there at the top of the fifth and I thought they were going to jinx me," Mathews said after the game. "I just concentrated and threw to Neeley and everything worked out."

The no-hitter was the first of Mathew’s high school career and was even more impressive when you take into account that the Trojans only faced one more than the minimum at the plate as the senior right hander walked a batter in the top of the fourth.

"Hunter gave us a great outing and we played good defense behind him," CHHS head coach Steve Garrett said. "In that second game they came out and were swinging the bats really well."

In that second game Charles Henderson didn’t waste any time. They scored runs in every inning with things getting started on Neeley’s 2-run homer in the second. Then, thanks to numerous errors on the Enterprise infield, the Trojans were able to put four more on the board in the second, three in the third highlighted by a monstrous solo-shot just right of the 360 sign in center by Kevin Stephens and one run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Scott Stetson.

After Neeley’s big day at the plate Garrett said he felt he was due.

Neeley was the offensive juggernaut for the Trojans Saturday. He went 5-for-6 and broke out of a little slump he’d been in over the past couple of weeks.

"He’s been hitting well all year and offensively we couldn’t do without him so far," Garrett said of Neeley’s performance. "But the last five games or so he hasn’t been doing really well.

"I told him that he needed some multiple hit games to get his average back up because (Chris) Boswell has been hitting the ball really well and he was about to catch him in batting average," the coach laughed. "Maybe he came out with a better approach today."

"I started off the season really well, but hit a slump the last five or six games," Neeley said. "I wasn’t seeing the ball well so I spent a lot of time in the cage the past couple of days in practice and came up there today, relaxed and hit the ball well."

As far as the incentive his coach tried to give him Neeley said it wasn’t that big of a deal.

"I had to pull one out of my hat today," Neeley said with a grin. "No, there really isn’t any competition like that between me and Chris. We’re a team and we really don’t look at individual stats that way."

As well as his squad played in the late game, however, the coach could be heard telling his team not to be pleased with their performance and that they could still get better. A good example he gave was the first game against the Wildcats in which the Trojans were on the verge of giving up a 5-0 lead in the later innings.

"I didn’t like the first game very much," Garrett said. "We can’t commit errors and leave people in the game. We didn’t swing the bat very well in the first game and I told them if we kept on messing around they were going to make it interesting up there and we did."

The Trojans held Enterprise scoreless up until the sixth inning where they scored one and then threatened to do enough damage in their final at-bat to tie things up, but CHHS held them to only two runs.

In the first game Stephens followed Neeley’s lead with a 2-for-3 showing belting a single and a double while Boswell and Mathews had the only other CHHS hits. In the second Will Jones had a single and Clint Pugh belted a triple to set up the 10th and final run.