Wild pitch lifts Palisade past Windsor
Josh Hovis knew he was moving on a passed ball. Leading off from third base in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday, the Palisade High School designated hitter thought to himself, “If it’s 10 feet or more away from the catcher, I’m going.”
The pitch went farther — to the backstop. Windsor pitcher Garrett Hamond skipped a ball in the dirt, and with the bases loaded, Hovis was headed home, and a pitcher-dominated game ending on a pitcher’s wild throw.
Palisade won 2-1 at Canyon View Park.
Kameron Pfaff went all seven innings for Palisade (6-1).
He found himself in one jam: in the top of the sixth inning, Pfaff walked a man and hit another. But Pfaff induced a ground ball out to first, the only scar on a precision-like performance in which he consistently got the first pitch strike on hitters.
Pfaff struck out four and allowed two hits.
Behind him, as usual, Palisade’s outfielders ranged for balls and the infield was steady.
“It helps so much knowing the defense is there for you,” Pfaff said. “If the ball is in play, that’s OK.”
With the game tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, Hovis, the second batter of the inning, absorbed a pitch in his hip with a quick turn. One man on.
“It was just taking it for the team,” Hovis said, “I’ll do whatever helps the team win.”
Lane Orman walked in the next at-bat — two on.
Then Caleb Hall, who was 2 for 2 with a pair of walks, got an infield hit, his sharply hit ground ball drawing the shortstop so far to his right that he could not field the ball cleanly. Bases loaded. And after an infield fly out, the Bulldogs had one out left.
To the plate came Tate Herland, who had struck out his first two at bats. And he soon was down 0-2 in the count.
“I felt a little more disciplined than my first couple at-bats,” Herland said. “I just didn’t want to do too much.”
He didn’t need to. He watched. The first pitch rode high. Another missed the zone. With the count 2-2, and Herland having laid off a pair of pitches that zipped just wide, or high, of the strike zone, the ball smacked the dirt and the winning run came home.
Pfaff, meanwhile, was rewarded with run support, although not until the final out.
“He got ahead of hitters with the first pitch strike, and that’s huge for him,” Palisade coach Steve Moore said. “Then he can just move the ball around in the zone.”
And in the sixth inning, with two runners on, Pfaff secured an eventual Bulldogs win with a bit of self talk.
“I thought, ‘I’m better than this,’ ” said Pfaff, who improved his record to 2-1.
“No one should be on base.”