Throwing a young pitcher out on the mound may not be such terrible news for Gainesville’s baseball team this season. These fresh-faced pitchers for the Red Elephants just keep picking up wins.
Hunter Anglin, a freshman, put together a complete game shutout with eight strikeouts, allowing just two walks and three hits in the Red Elephants’ 8-0 win in their subregion opener against Flowery Branch on Monday at Ivey-Watson Field. In his last outing, Anglin also hurled a complete shutout for the Red Elephants (6-1, 1-0 Region 7B-AAA) in a 10-0 win against Class AAAAA’s Central Gwinnett on March 8.
“We knew he was going to be a player right away,” Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp said.
Anglin isn’t the only young hurler to find early success on the mound this season for Gainesville. Last Tuesday, David Gonzalez, a sophomore, picked up the decision with seven strikeouts in a 10-5 win against Hart County.
Although Anglin got off to a bit of a rocky start against the Falcons, letting three runners reach base in the first inning, he was saved from allowing a run by a great throw from left fielder Anderson Loggins on a single that nabbed Flowery Branch’s lead runner at the plate.
After that, Anglin settled down and only allowed three more hitters for the Falcons (0-7, 0-1) to reach base. Gainesville’s pitcher also got the benefit of a jumping catch from Will Maddox as he fell backward from his position at second base, which kept runners out of scoring position.
In addition to his big defensive play in the first inning, Loggins also had a great day at the plate. After a sluggish start to the season hitting, he finished the game with three hits and two RBIs, including a triple in the fifth inning that scored Gonzalez from first.
“Anderson had just an unbelievable game all the way around,” Kemp said.
Gainesville put three runs on the board in the second inning with a pair of home runs. Red Elephants senior catcher Sloan Strickland had a solo home run, followed by a two-run home run from Gonzalez two spots later in the order. Ryan Griffith (2-for-4) was on base with a single following Strickland’s long home run over the left field fence.
Gainesville shortstop K.J. McAllister drove in the final run with a RBI single in the sixth inning.
Meanwhile, Flowery Branch is still trying to find the pieces that give it the best chance to win after their two top returning players were put on the shelf for the rest of the season with injuries.
Senior pitcher James Mills already underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery for a elbow ligament injury. Fellow senior Brad Stone suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder during the second game of the season and will undergo surgery on March 25.
With the extent of the injuries, Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Lawler has no choice but to let younger players take a crack at playing varsity baseball.
“It’s good for these young guys to get to play and get the experience,” Lawler said.
Against Gainesville, Logan Conley, Robby Boudreau and Breck Davidson each had one hit for the Falcons.
Gainesville plays host to Lumpkin County at 5:55 p.m. Wednesday. Flowery Branch will play host to North Hall at 5:55 p.m. Wednesday.