April 1, 2014
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Liberty blows out rival Hazen, 10-0
It doesn’t have the same energy as the football or basketball rivalries, but anytime Liberty and Hazen high schools meet on the diamond, it’s always a battle between familiar foes.
Just three miles separate the two schools, and despite the fact they reside in different school districts, many of the students grew up together playing in youth leagues.
This time, it was the Liberty ball players who bested the Highlanders in a convincing 10-0 nonleague tune-up March 25.
“That was pretty amazing,” Liberty baseball coach John Martin said. “Hazen is typically a really good program, and usually battles pretty tough, if not comes out on the other side with a win, so that was pretty exciting.”
It took the Patriots just five innings to put away Hazen, which struggled to put together any momentum against Liberty’s winning pitcher, Lorin Archibald.
Archibald, a senior, was credited with the shutout, going all five innings and striking out four along the way.
“Archie looked good today,” Martin said. “He was the big part on our defensive side that led us to this win.”
The game remained scoreless after the first inning. Liberty secured the only runs it would need, though, in the three-run second inning.
Every Liberty starter came to the plate in the five-run third inning, chasing Hazen starting pitcher Ryan Gayte from the mound. Nolan Hoover, who also stars as the Highlanders’ quarterback, came on in relief.
“I think some of our mental approach was a little lacking, but I think we’ll be fine,” said Hazen baseball coach Mike Brundage said. “It’s a nonleague game, it is what it is. The key thing is to bounce back and have a short-term memory, and go out and start league.”
Hazen batters Brooks Jacobs and J. Crosby, a commit to play baseball at Pacific Lutheran University next year, were the only ones to come away with hits for the Highlanders.
In a moment of comic relief, during what was an otherwise lackluster game for Hazen, Highlanders’ shortstop Zack Hill quipped, “Give the quarterback his football helmet,” after pitcher Hoover took a bouncing ball to the face. Hoover was not injured during the play.
Hazen wasn’t happy with the game’s outcome, especially against a rival, Brundage said, but it was better to get this clunker out of the way before league play started.
“They’re frustrated with a loss like this to a rival on the hill, and it sucks, and it’s tough to swallow, but the fact of the matter is it’s a practice game and it’s built for that,” he said.
Liberty’s bats propelled the Patriots to 10 runs, led by junior Daniel Rodriguez, who had two hits and three RBIs. Junior Eddie Delgado also added a hit and two RBIs as well.
The defensive play of the game came from Liberty freshman outfielder Torey Anderson, who successfully threw a runner out at the plate with a spot-on throw from centerfield.
It’s not often that a Liberty freshman makes varsity, Martin said, but Anderson is special. Liberty’s down on numbers this year, he added, but that’s not to say Anderson made the team just because they needed bodies.
“He’s got pretty good foot speed, he’s got a nice strong arm, he’s at a real good place as a freshman and he’s got nothing but upside going forward,” he said.
Both teams began league play after the nonconference matchup. Hazen hopes to repeat last year’s success, when the Highlanders took the Seamount crown, while the Patriots will look to dig out of the KingCo 3A/2A cellar.