Harding, Vikings romp in opener
Townsend hits first varsity homer
Washington 0 CAMBRIDGE — Forced to wait two days to start its season due to bad field conditions, the Cambridge-South Dorchester High baseball team’s patience paid off on Wednesday, March 23.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Harding pitched a one-hit complete game, striking out six as the Vikings blanked Washington, 10-0, in six innings.
“Obviously, you want the win,” C-SD’s Chad Wolfe said after winning his head-coaching debut. “And Tyler had good command, and threw a great game.
“The original plan was for Tyler to start, and we work into [senior] Matt [Elliott]. But Tyler cruised right along; I mean, he only threw 65 pitches, so it was kind of hard to take him out the way he was doing.”
Walking the game’s first hitter, Jaguar freshman leadoff man Riley Horner, Harding retired the next three hitters.
In the top of the second, Harding walked Savaris Peoples with one out, and the speedy Julius White legged out an infield single. But Harding tightened up, and fanned the next two hitters to strand both runners.
The strikeouts began a game-ending streak of 14 straight hitters dispatched by Harding and the Viking defense. Washington hit only two balls out of the infield, one a line drive caught in left by Brandon Tibbs, the other a can of corn to center fielder Nate Lowe.
The Vikings got all the offense they needed in the bottom of the first. With one out, Lowe (walk, two runs) singled up the middle. Michael Richardson slapped a base hit to right, and Matt Elliott (2for-3, walk, triple, RBI, three runs) reached on an error that scored Lowe and moved Richardson to third.
A passed ball plated Richardson, and Devin Sparks (3-for-4) followed with a run-scoring double. Two batters later, Evan Fishpaw’s base hit scored Sparks to make it 4-0.
A dropped fly ball in left field, a triple to the deepest part of the park by Elliott, and a Sparks single fueled a three-run second inning for C-SD.
With Fishpaw on second and nobody out in the bottom of the third, Viking sophomore Josh Townsend got all of 1-1 fastball for a home run off Washington starter White (0-1).
“I just ran as hard as I could,” Townsend said of the hit. “I didn’t know how far it would go.”
The ball, which sailed more than 375 feet, was hit so hard, the 10-mph crosswind, blowing from right field toward center all afternoon, didn’t visibly affect its flight. The tworun homer to straightaway right made it 9-0, and a rout seemed imminent.
Tibbs (3-for-3), singled on the next pitch, C-SD loading the bases a moment later. But the Vikings didn’t score then — or in the next two innings.
The 9-0 advantage remained unchanged, thanks to clutch outs by Washington reliever Keionte Nutter in the third, and double plays in the fourth and fifth.
“I thought we were going to go into the seventh inning, and come out and try to do something with that 9-0 lead they had,” Washington head coach Bryan Laird said. “But it just wasn’t to be.”
C-SD wrapped it up in its half of the sixth. Elliott led it off with a single up the middle, and Sparks followed with another.
Koby Schreiber (1-for4) hit what looked to be a double-play ball to second, but the transfer was mishandled at short, and all hands were safe.
Senior utilityman Landen Warfield (2-for2), who had subbed in for Fishpaw two innings prior, was next up.
“It was all curveballs from [Jaguar reliever Jimmy Mansfield],” Warfield said, “so I was just trying to hit one.”
He got a piece of the fifth one, inside-outing the 2-2 delivery. It sailed slowly into shallow right field and found the grass there, allowing Elliott to score the 10th run, instantly ending the rout-rule win.