By LOGAN DARNELL
For Coal Valley News
ASHTON - Van Junior-Senior High School (1-20) visited Hannan Junior-Senior (3-14) on May 7 in a tournament contest. Senior Jacob Smith pitched for Van, and freshman Chase Poore pitched for the Wildcats.
The game's first two innings went by with a few hits, but no runs for either team. The third inning was led off with designated hitter Chris Bias being hit by a pitch. With two outs, Caleb Price and Chris Price scored as the former singled and a fielder's choice for sophomore first baseman Kalen Booth opened up scoring for Van. The team took a 2-0 lead before the end of the side.
Van extended their lead at the top of the fourth when a double from senior right fielder Ethan Simmermaker was followed by another double by freshman 3B Isiah Perdue to bat him in. Perdue then scored when another double was hit by Jacob Smith, who made it to third base on an error that helped senior CF Jarod Puckett reach. The two of them were left on base, though, as the side retired. Hannan scored their only run of the ballgame after two walks and an error brought senior catcher Dalton Coleman home, 4-1.
The score remained as such until the seventh, when a leadoff double by Jacob Smith was followed by a single by Puckett and an error for senior C Caleb Price. The line continued moving as Booth doubled, junior shortstop Jacob Jarrell walked, and 2B Blake Martin recorded a hit in quick succession. All six of these players would score to make the game 10-1 as Chris Bias reached on an error. Hannan recorded two hits at the bottom of the seventh, but would not be able to close the gap as Van brought home their second win of the year.
Coach Stephen Price commended the effort of Jacob Smith on the mound: "[He] pitched a whale of a game, taking a no-hitter into the seventh."
Smith struck out 13 and went 3-for-5 from the plate and recorded 4 RBI. Pitching was a factor Van considered a strength heading into the postseason, and it had certainly paid off against Hannan.