CRESTVIEW — The Bulldogs looked as if they were in for a long day.
Three of the first four batters sophomore right-hander Josh Huber faced reached base in the Crestview baseball team’s 14-9 victory against Harrison County (Kentucky) on Saturday afternoon at the Bulldog Ballpark. The only strike he had thrown had been laid down for a bunt. The rest of his pitches were in the dirt.
After securing the second out with fly ball in foul territory, Huber walked in the game’s first run, losing a nine-pitch battle to the Thorobreds’ first baseman.
He was scuffling, and the bases were loaded. Crestview coach Tim Gillis emerged from the dugout for a short mound visit. He patted Huber on the shoulder. Huber grinned.
Then he struck out the final batter of the inning on three pitches.
He didn’t allow another run until the fourth inning, though at that point Crestview (5-9 overall) led 10-1. Thorobred outfielder Ben Vanhook’s three-run home run to left field signaled the end of Huber’s day. He pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowed five hits, four walks and four runs with three strikeouts and worked his way out of jams with runners in scoring position three times.
“I thought it was a gutsy effort by him,” Gillis said. “He didn’t have his best stuff. That’s only his second start of the year, and he hadn’t been out there on the mound in a couple of weeks, so obviously that’s tough. I thought he had a gutsy effort, hung in there, ate up some innings there so we could get some guys in the pen. I was proud of him.”
Huber was far from perfect, but he didn’t need to be. The Crestview offense, which was averaging only 3.7 runs per game, added at least one run to its total in each of the six innings it played. It put up six runs in the opening frame, highlighted by a pair of two-run doubles off the bats of catcher Rod Bouchard and outfielder Chandler Corbin. Harrison County’s starter was forced from the game before the Thorobreds (2-1) recorded a single out.
The game gave Crestview its fourth victory in its last five tries. The Bulldogs are outscoring opponents 42-18 in that span. That comes on the heels of a 1-8 start to the season.
“We’ve played a little bit better of late,” Gillis said. “We actually played OK all year. We just weren’t able to get the big hit in the clutch, but we’re getting a little better. We just want to try to get it going.”
Clutch performances were no issue Saturday. The Bulldogs’ final eight runs of the ballgame came with at least one out on the board. Three came with two outs on the board in the bottom of the third.
“I think we’re staying positive,” Gillis said. “Hard part is to stay positive when things aren’t going your way. We tried to stay positive and keep working hard. Baseball’s a game of timing. You catch yourself at the right time you’ll be a little bit better, and we’ve been playin’ a little bit better.
“That’s the name of the game. We’ll keep trying to progress as we get closer to the end of the year.”
Crestview returns to the diamond at 6 p.m. Monday for a matchup with Greenwood (Kentucky) at the Florida Baseball Beach Bash.