Chapin Blanks Westwood

Matt Keily takes a stab at a high fastball.

It was a tough night for the Westwood Nine Friday night as the experienced Chapin Eagles trounced the young Redhawks’ team 14 to zip.

In their regular season opener, Westwood’s freshman Ray Branson pitched a 3-0 shutout against Crestwood, racking up 12 strikeouts in the process. Friday’s game against Chapin, where the Redhawks’ youth really showed, would contrast sharply against the Crestwood game.

“We have no seniors and only three juniors on our team,” Westwood head coach Curtis Johnson said. “Everyone else is younger.”

In fact, center fielder Brandon May is in the eighth grade. Yet May, despite his youth, made the play of the night, reaching for all he was worth to field a Matt Sharpia fly ball right at the home run fence.

While the first inning went rather quietly for both teams, the second inning would be the start of the long night for Westwood. The first two batters for Chapin hit singles. The first of Chapin’s runs came on a Matt Kiely wild pitch, moving the other runners to second and third, with no outs. A sacrifice pop fly allowed the players on second and third to tag up and score the second and third runs. Chapin plated their fourth run in the third.

The Redhawks looked to rally in the fourth, with a pair of singles by Kiely and Austin Garner. A wild pitch moved them up to second and third, but they got no further as Chapin fanned Ian Miller to end the threat.

Chapin started their half of the fifth by taking advantage of a two-base Westwood error. Derek Sharpia then drove the run in. Robbie Lopez was then hit by a pitch and Durant cleared the bases with a double, scoring both runs. David Cook then singled for the Eagles, driving in Lopez, putting Chapin up 8-0 going into the bottom half.

Ray Branson then came on in relief and closed out the inning.

Chapin loaded the bases in the sixth, but stranded all three as Branson hurled back-to-back-to-back strikeouts. But the effort would go unrewarded as the Eagles poured gasoline on the fire in the seventh, racking up three base hits while Westwood aided them with a walk and two fielding errors, all culminating in six more runs for the Eagles.

“Chapin’s a pretty good baseball team,” Johnson said. “I wish we would have played a little cleaner, defensively. Their guy on the mound was very good, good arm. Matt Kiely went out and gave us a great effort. Ray Branson came in and threw well. We did everything we could have done, they were just a little better than us today. They are well coached, well-disciplined and they were just better than us today.”

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