Hardaway entered Thursday’s game against Columbus with a four-game losing streak to the Blue Devils and five losses in its first six games of 2017. The Hawks left the field with a victory in their first region game thanks in large part to pitcher Mykel Page.
Page was masterful in his seven innings on the mound, allowing only two hits and no runs in Hardaway’s 2-0 victory over the Blue Devils. Even in the few times Columbus threatened to push a run across, Page buckled down to secure his first win of the season.
Page said afterward that he had a feeling the outing could be a special one. Then again, he tries to take that mentality toward every time he steps on the mound.
“I go out there every day feeling (confident),” Page said. “You never know if it’s going to be your last game or not. I just go out there and play 110 percent all of the time.”
The senior right-hander looked in control even when Columbus pitcher Trent Grantham doubled in the second inning and again when first baseman Adam Neff doubled in the third. Page used his pitching and the defense behind him to get out of both innings unscathed.
Page’s composure never wavered even as his pitch count went up.
After allowing Blue Devils on first and second via a walk and a hit batter in the fifth inning, Page struck out the next two batters to end the frame. Another Columbus player reached in the sixth on an error, but after a lineout the runner was thrown out at second and the threat was over.
Page ended the game with six strikeouts.
According to Hardaway head coach Chris Gilstrap, Page’s handling of the Blue Devils was typical with his pitching.
“He’s a competitor,” Gilstrap said. “He usually gets stronger as the day goes on. He’s one of those that if something happens, he buckles down and works himself out of situations.”
Page thanked his defense for the team’s victory, saying they were huge in helping him get comfortable on the mound. He said as the innings went on, he felt confident in the Hawks behind him, so much so that he was pitching for groundouts and lineouts rather than strikeouts.
Gilstrap said any victory over Columbus is a good one, considering that most expect the Blue Devils to perennially contend for the Region 1-4A title. With Page’s help on Thursday, the Hawks proved themselves capable of making their own run in the region.
“I’ve played with some of these boys for four years,” Page said. “I feel like they can get the job done. To see it happen today, it just felt good in the first region game.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports