Harris County pitcher Casey Cobb said he wasn’t entirely happy with his performance against Hardaway on Tuesday in Hamilton. That, coach Steve Westmoreland said, is how he know he’s got a good one.
Cobb pitched a complete game and limited the Hawks to three runs on six hits to pace his Tigers in a 4-3 Region 1-AAAAA victory. The win kept Harris County perfect in the region. It was Hardaway’s first region loss.
“That’s when you know you have a good one,” Westmoreland said after the game. “When the kid beats a team as good as Hardaway and he’s still not satisfied with his performance. I thought he had a pretty solid game.”
In his seven innings of work, Cobb struck out nine and allowed three earned runs, all of which came via the long ball.
He left a fastball up in the zone in the second inning, allowing Hardaway’s Tony Locey to center it up and drive it over the left field fence for a solo home run. With his team leading 4-1 in the sixth, Blake Meadows got a hold of one with a runner on base to cut the Tigers lead to 4-3.
That, along with a minor second-and-third jam with one out in the first, was the only trouble he faced all day.
“I was locating around the corners, but didn’t get a lot of the pitches I usually get,” Cobb said. “It was alright, though. I settled in.”
Asked about whether Cobb was shaky early on and how he was able to settle in against Hardaway, Hawks coach Chris Gilstrap shook his head.
“I wouldn’t say he was ever shaky,” he said. “He did a good job against us the whole way. He overpowered us, changed speeds well and really located his fastball.”
Cobb finished the game right at 100 pitches, and Westmoreland only briefly had relievers warming up in the bullpen during the bottom of the sixth inning. Cobb faced a minor rally in the seventh when Hardaway got runners on first and second with one out, but a line-drive double play ended the game. Catcher Josh Anthony roped a hard liner to Harris County third baseman Neil Jimmerson, who relayed the ball to second to end the contest.
Early in the game, though, Hardaway had the upper hand on the mound. Starter Trevon Dorsey dealt goose eggs through the first three innings, allowing just a hit batter to reach base.
In the fourth, Harris County came to life. Kurt Ornowski hit a ground ball to the right side for a single and advanced to second on an error two pitches later, when Anthony tried to pick him off at first. Ornowski then went to third on a dropped third strike and came home on a single by shortstop A.J. Willoughby. Two batters later, Hughes Massengale drove a home run to left field, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
They added their fourth run on another RBI single from Willoughby in the fifth.
“We’ve done a good job of playing seven innings this year,” Westmoreland said. “Our guys were just patient. They didn’t chase up in the zone, and I think we may have gotten his pitch count up a bit. You don’t need a ton of hits, just hits in the right spot.”
Harris County got just five of them. Willoughby was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Massengale was 1 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs.
In addition to Meadows’ and Locey’s home runs, Dorsey knocked three singles for the Hawks.
Harris County plays at Shaw at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, and Hardaway hosts Lee County at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Tuesday at Harris County
Hardaway 010 002 0—3 6 1
Harris County 000 310 x—4 5 1
WP—Casey Cobb. LP—Trevon Dorsey. Leading hitters—Hardaway, Blake Meadows 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBIs, Tony Locey 1 for 2, HR, RBI, Trevon Dorsey 3 for 3; Harris County, A.J. Willoughby 2 for 3, 2 RBIs, Hughes Massengale 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBIs. Records: Hardaway, 7-1, 2-1; Harris County, 7-1, 3-0. Next: Hardaway, vs. Lee County at 4:30 p.m. Friday at home; Harris County, vs. Shaw at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.