Kaylin Chesney rounds third and heads for home in the third inning of Central’s 4-0 win over Halls on April 8 at UT’s Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Hill leads Central to win on ‘special day’

By Steve Williams

Central High ace Andrew Hill made quick work of rival Halls in the ‘Welcome Home’ Todd Helton event at UT’s Lindsey Stadium last week.

The tall right-hander and ETSU signee plunked the Red Devils’ leadoff batter to start the contest, but sailed through the rest of the game with a one-hitter and struck out 10.

“The key with this special day was kind of controlling the emotions, controlling the nerves a little bit and I thought Andrew Hill did a really good job,” said Central Coach Brandon Roberts. “He set the tone for us.”

Nick Riordan had an infield hit in the bottom of the first, but the inning ended with both teams scoreless.

Central’s Miles Johnson took care of that in the second as he drove in courtesy runner Jaden Seiber with a bouncing single up the middle off of Halls pitcher Dayde Young.

In the third inning, the Bobcats’ Kaylin Chesney had a leadoff walk and scored on Hill’s single up the middle to make it 2-0.

With one out in the decisive fourth, Central’s Jack Goode got aboard a base on balls. Johnson beat out an infield hit to shortstop. David Grimes’ sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third. On a 3-1 count, Halls elected to load the bases. Chesney made the Red Devils pay as he hit a two-run single past the second baseman, giving the Cats their four-run upper hand.

“Kaylin did a good job with two strikes,” said Coach Roberts. “He put the ball in play.”

Hill made a nice defensive play in the fifth as he fielded a grounder between the mound and home and fired to first baseman Cole Wessel for the out.

Reserve Owen Porter singled to left field in the bottom of the fifth and pinch-runner Chris Peters stole second, but the Bobcats couldn’t get him home.

Hill capped his shutout by retiring the side in order in the seventh.

With the great pitching and defensive play, it took only 1 hour and 18 minutes to play the game.

The victory upped Central’s record to 14-6 overall and 6-1 in District 3-4A. Halls slipped to 8-12 and 5-2.

“I’m proud of our team,” added Roberts. “The crowd that was here was amazing and I think it says a lot about how our guys have been playing. Obviously, Todd Helton is a big part of it. For this atmosphere for high school baseball is a really cool thing for our players to experience. I’m really proud of that.

“Just him (Helton) coming tonight was really appreciated and the guys are on Cloud Nine.”

Halls Coach Ryan Gentry felt both teams competed hard and his team battled. “The difference tonight was their guy (Hill) on the mound had everything working. He did a great job and got the job done.”

As far as playing at UT’s stadium, Gentry said: “I think they enjoyed getting to be out here and to compete at a place where they come out and watch guys that they cheer for compete.

“Todd came over and introduced himself and spoke to some of the kids before the game. You know, it’s always great to get to meet one of your heroes, so I think they had a good time with that.”


CAUGHLIN RECOGNIZED: Central graduate Jason Caughlin received a nice ovation on the field between innings early in the contest. He graduated from school early and completed boot camp in the Marines in January.