No foolin’ around
There was a lot on the minds of the Charles Henderson Trojans as they ran out on to the field to face Carroll.
With a win, the team would be just one victory away from clinching a playoff birth but there was something more serious going on off the field.
Jerry Barron, father of senior left fielder and pitcher Nathan Barron, suffered a heart attack on Wednesday and has been in the hospital ever since.
Nathan was not in the lineup for the Trojans.
With that in mind, the Trojans took the field, with senior Mitch McLeod on the mound and thanks to a dominating pitching performance and some power at the plate, CHHS came away with a 4-0 victory over the Eagles.
The Trojans were able to cap off a three-run third inning thanks to a two-run Jalin Lawson home run over the right field wall.
“I talked to the guys about controlling the things we can control and stepping up in certain situations,” head coach Derek Irons said after the game.
“We had to put Jalin up in the three-hole and he hit a two-run homer. We all have to make the most of the situation but I think all of the guys did their jobs today,” he added.
McLeod bounced back from Saturday’s loss to Rehobeth in a big way, pitching a complete game shutout, allowing just four hits while striking out nine.
“(Mitch) was as sharp as he has been all year,” Irons said.
“He has looked good all season long, but today he really looked great. He did everything we ask that we asked of him pounded the strike zone the entire game and the guys behind him responded well (when the ball was in play),” he said.
The win improved the No. 2 ranked team in 5A to 22-5 on the season.
The first CHHS came off the bat of Chance Shaver, who brought Michael Fox home with a two-out single.
Shavers hit was followed by Lawson’s home run.
The Trojans struck again in the bottom of the fifth-inning when Jalin’s older brother, Quay drove in Shaver for the final run.
Overall, the Trojans finished with six hits in the game.
“Everyone had the same mindset and focus today and I think for anyone watching, that was pretty obvious,” McLeod said.
“Since we found out, it has kind of been an emotional week for all of us. But we rallied around Nathan and his dad.
“We knew we had to come out here and step up,” the senior added.
With the win, CHHS is now one step closer to accomplishing one of its most important goals.
“The No. 1 goal of the season is to get into the playoffs, and now we are just a win away from doing that,” Irons said.
“Hopefully, we can bring the same kind of focus to the field (on Friday),” he added.
The Trojans will get its chance to clinch today against the same team it beat on Thursday, Carroll, on the road.
The double-header between the two teams will kick off at 4:30 p.m.