GHS’s Walters earns first win

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 14, 2002

Sports Editor

GOSHEN – Six starts is a long time to wait for your first win as a pitcher, even for a freshman.

Goshen’s Brandon Walters threw 120 pitches in seven innings of work and got some help from his teammates at the plate as the Eagles handed Ariton a 15-9 loss on Friday.

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Goshen’s batters came alive in the fifth inning, plating six runs off three hits and reclaiming the lead 10-8 after falling behind by four.

Walters then went to work, allowing one run in the final two Ariton at-bats, while striking out four of the last six Purple Cats he faced.

"His (Walters) record going in was no indication as to how well he’s pitched," said GHS head coach Chad Dube about his freshman’s effort. Walters was 0-5 as a starter coming into Friday’s contest, but had an ERA of under .250 . "He’s really been our hard-luck pitcher this season and the defense hasn’t played well behind him on ground balls. We still had some bad errors in this game, but offensively, we came alive. I was glad to see that."

The Eagles gave Walters an even bigger cushion to work with in the bottom of the sixth, adding another five runs with both Clarence Bean and Wesley Wright ripping two-run singles past the Ariton infield. Brandon Hughes pushed the lead out to 11-9 in the sixth when he bunted in Walters and Ariton couldn’t make the force throw to first.

It was little things like Walters’ bunt, as well as a sliding Kevin Johnson breaking up a sure double play in the fifth with one out, allowing the Eagles to stay alive at the plate and eventually reclaim the lead, which Dube said his team did right against the Purple Cats.

"Things like that really make an impact on the game and you don’t think about it," he said. "I always tell these guys that they’re capable of playing good ball and they showed that today."

A Goshen one run lead in the top of the third vanished when Ariton’s Tim Bryd drove in a runner with a ground ball hit, putting the visitors up 2-1.

Two consecutive double RBIs by Jason Burgans and Averick Rogers gave Goshen back the lead, 3-2 and Walters singled in a runner also in the bottom of the third.

But Ariton would have an answer.

The Purple Cats put together their highest offensive output of the game in the fourth, scoring six runs off four hits and a couple of Goshen errors. A single by Mitchell Sheehan loaded the bases and Walt Ellis followed with an RBI base hit. Aaron Reeves was forced out at first to score another runner and Chris Logan came home on a hit by Joseph Van Zandt.

Goshen got Johnson on first courtesy of a walk, but the freshman was left stranded, as was Reeves, who reached in the fifth for Ariton, after being beamed by a Walters’ pitch.

The bottom of the fifth belonged to the Eagles. Rogers beat out a throw to first with one out, Walters had a long single to score his catcher, and Matt Qualls took a high fastball into the outfield, driving in another run for Goshen.

Bean got to first base on the fielder’s choice that caught Johnson at second, scoring the Eagles’ first run off Ellis, who had come in as relief to try and get Ariton out of the inning. Chad Sanders took a walk to load the bases, as did Wright for an RBI, and Burgans lined a two RBI single over the outstretched hands of the Ariton shortstop for the go-ahead runs.

The Purple Cats received one run off the bat of Anthony Siegers in the sixth, but two runners were left on when Walters got the final out at the plate.

Goshen hosts Area 2 leader Straughn on Tuesday.