CHHS pitching staff dominating opponents

Published 9:27 pm Friday, March 8, 2013

The Charles Henderson pitching staff has been down right greedy of late. The fact that, as a team, they have allowed just five hits in the last three games – all shutouts – should be ruled unfair and a crime.

The recent success shouldn’t come as a surprise however; several members of the staff have been starting games for the Trojans for three years now.

Seniors Brantley LeCroy, Tripp Blackmon and Houston Mabray have led the charge as Charles Henderson (10-1) is ranked No. 1 in the first ASWA baseball poll.

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“Our basic philosophy is to dominate the average play and pound the strike zone. I think we’ve done that,” head coach Derek Irons said. “Every guy on our staff has thrown and thrown well so we are very pleased with that.”

While having a solid pitcher on the mound helps a team’s odds of winning tremendously, having a good defensive team behind him is essential.

“It’s really our defense. Our defense has been solid,” Blackmon said. “As a pitcher, you can go out and throw as good of a game as you want to but without good defense it doesn’t matter.”

Blackmon (2-0, 1.69) has been the Trojans workhorse early this season. In 16 innings of work he has struck out 10 batters while walking just five. Against perennial Class 6A powerhouse Stanhope-Elmore on Tuesday, the southpaw tossed a one-hit shutout in the Trojans 9-0 win.

Not to be outdone, right-hander Houston Mabray (3-1, 2.52) allowed just two hits in a 5-0 victory over Marbury.

Those performances grouped with the two-hit, 1-0 decision over Dothan High School on March 2 by Brantley Lecroy (1-0, 2.25) and Austin Ingram (1-0, 0.00, 2 Sv) should make opposing teams nervous.

As a staff, the Trojans have a 2.15 ERA and have struck out 54 batters as opposed to 19 walks in 75 1/3 innings. Batters have only been able to reach base a .231 clip against the Trojans, making in very difficult to manufacture runs.

“Throwing strikes is the key,” LeCroy said. “You have to stay around the zone. Playing the bigger schools you have to be in control.”

Of Charles Henderson’s 10 wins, five are over teams in a larger classification. Blackmon hopes this will help the team in area and postseason play.

“It’s good to see that we can beat these teams. When we bring our ‘A’ game, when can match up with anyone in the state,” he said. “It builds confidence to see what playing at our true potential can really do.”

Xavier Burden, Blake Craft and Luke Hastings have also provided quality innings for the Trojans this season.

Charles Henderson will play a doubleheader at Paterson Field on Saturday to conclude the Jason Armstrong FCA Memorial Tournament.