A Thunder Mountain High School freshman spoiled one pitcher’s bid for a no-hitter on Friday afternoon at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
Preston Williams, making his first varsity start at third base, hit safely into the gap in center-right field in the fifth inning, providing a welcome sight for the Falcons’ faithful in a 5-1 loss to Ketchikan. Kings senior Wyatt Barajas retired 14 consecutive batters when Williams stepped to the plate and finally gave the young team some offense.
“If you put your mind to it, you can really hit off of anybody” Williams said. “I just kept my head down, put the bat to the ball and let it go.”
Barajas ended the game without giving up another hit, and finished with eight strikeouts. The strong-armed right hander had an excellent game at the plate, too, hitting two home runs to right field.
Barajas’ first bomb occurred only a few pitches after the Kings’ secured their first run of the game off a separate home run by Liam Kiffer. With the bases empty and two outs in the top of the third, Kiffer clubbed a ball high into the sky above centerfield that would eventually escape the fence.
“Our whole lineup is pretty tough,” Barajas said. “It’s kind of nice being up there pitching knowing that you got nine guys behind you that can not only play defense but smack the ball out there on offense, too.”
Thunder Mountain notched one run in the bottom of the seventh inning after junior Chase Foster and sophomore Oliver Mendoza drew back-to-back walks. Mendoza took the loss for the Falcons, giving up four earned runs on seven hits.
In addition to Williams, Thunder Mountain coach Bill McCauley started two other freshmen infielders: shortstop Isaiah Nelson and second baseman Matthew Johns. McCauley said he likes the baseball intelligence and spirit of the freshmen class.
“They’re ballplayers,” he said. “They got things to learn, they’re going to get better, but they all play well.”
Williams echoed his coach’s sentiment.
“We’re very vocal in the field,” he added. “We try to have fun all the time. Even in the dugout, we’re just trying to get the team motivated.”
The Kings would defeat the Falcons again later in the day, winning 13-3. Foster, Josh Carte and Brennon Ludeman each scored runs in the loss.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.