Trojans walking tall
Updated: April 2, 2011 9:24AM
Highland - Highland made the most of the 11 walks it was issued by Morton pitching and cruised to a 13-1 season opening victory Thursday.
A strong pitching performance by Jordan Minch on a blustery day helped keep the Governors (0-2) bats in check.
Minch was dominant in the four innings he worked, giving up an unearned run on one hit, striking out six, walking one and hitting a batter before giving way to Matt Knesek to finish the fifth and final inning. Minch also helped himself at the plate, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs with a second inning double.
"This was a good way to get started today," said Highland Coach Dan Miller. "Jordan pitched strong early on and their kid (Valentine) didn't have his control today, those were two of the better pitchers in the area coming in today."
After an easy top of the first, the Trojans jumped all over Morton starter Brandon Valentine. Highland scored five runs in the bottom of the first on two hits and five walks, sending nine men to the plate.
The second inning almost mirrored the first as the Trojans batted around, scoring six runs on five hits.
Highland looked to do more damage in the bottom of the third when Will Kerber led the inning off with a base hit off Governors reliever Steve Kuchick.
After a fly out to right by Keith Mahler Trojans DH Jake Klocek hit a bullet to straight-away center field against a stiff wind that Governors center fielder D.J. Griffin made an outstanding diving catch on to hold the Trojans scoreless.
"Their second pitcher (Kuchick) came in after a hard thrower and he was a little different to hit," said Miller.
Griffin also scored Morton's lone run in the top of the fourth after a leadoff walk, the only free pass allowed on the day by Minch. Morton first baseman Jesse Escamillo broke up Minch's bid for a no-hitter with one out in the top of the fourth.
"I'm not really happy with the way we performed and the way we acted on the field today, said Morton coach Scott Lush. "Kuchick came in and threw strikes; he did what we asked him to do."