Frederick National Lions starting pitcher Kaden Hnath didn’t need to go too deep into his pitching arsenal against Mountain Valley’s Indians on Friday.
One of his pitches, a football changeup, can be deceiving. He grips the baseball sort of like a football before delivering, but he’s saving that for later in the Gregg Quedeweit Memorial Tournament of Champions.
In the Lions’ 10-0, five-inning win over the Indians at Max Kehne Park, home of East Frederick Little League, Hnath’s offering were mostly fastballs, with a few curveballs mixed in to keep the Indians’ hitters off-balance. He went 3 2-3 innings (50 pitches) on a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts.
“Originally, we had planned to have our pitchers throw just 20 pitches each today,” Lions manager Danny Miller said. “But their starting pitcher (Trent Strong) did a nice job of keeping us in check.”
Strong pitched three innings, allowing two earned runs with four strikeouts.
Miller said the Lions had been averaging 15-16 runs per game during the regular season, so he wasn’t going to have just one pitcher stay in for very long, keeping them fresh for the rest of the tournament. Since the Lions weren’t going to be able to hit their average against Strong, Miller let Hnath go a little longer on the mound.
Austin DeGrange relieved Hnath in the fourth, retiring four of five batters he faced the rest of the way and allowing no hits.
“Strong was throwing the strikes,” Miller said. “You’ve got to give him credit for that.”
The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double from Hnath. Two Indians errors and an RBI from DeGrange, when he grounded out to second base, brought across three runs in the third. Logan Keepers, who had two hits with two RBIs for the game, drove in one of two runs in the fourth. The other run scored on an error.
Jake Nikolow had two hits with an RBI for the Lions.
The Lions advance to today’s quarterfinal round, where it faces Four County’s Rockies at 6 p.m.
MCLL-Lower Red Sox 5, Thurmont Mariners 2
The Red Sox held the Mariners to two hits on the combined efforts of Noah Satriano and Ian Brown. Brayden Conrad stole home in the fourth for Thurmont. The Mariners scored their other run in the sixth on an error.
The Red Sox play MCLL-Lower Senators at 9 a.m. today. At noon, MCLL-Upper’s Nationals play East Frederick’s MMI. Frederick American’s Elks play Brunswick’s Reds at 3 p.m.