By Erik Harris
VESTAVIA HILLS – The Class 7A, Area 6 baseball season is officially under way, but No. 1 Hewitt-Trussville “just didn’t come ready to play” against No. 7 Vestavia Hills on Thursday.
Those words, spoken by Huskies’ center fielder Quin Jackson, couldn’t be more justified as he stepped away from Sammie Dunn Field with a 7-0 final beaming from the scoreboard.
Thursday’s road loss came in the wake of a 5-3 home loss to the Rebels just two days earlier and put Hewitt-Trussville at the bottom of an 0-2 area hole.
Vestavia Hills’ junior pitcher Sonny Potter might not have dug the entire hole, but he provided the shovel. The lefty threw a complete game three-hitter in the series finale. He only needed 65 pitches to do so.
“He’s one of the best pitchers, not just in our city, but in our state,” said Vestavia Hills head coach Tommy Walker. “He’s a very, very good pitcher. Tonight, he threw three pitches for a strike. He threw a curveball, fastball and changeup all for strikes and when you do that and you have his stuff, it’s going to be a good night.”
Potter, who holds an offer from Alabama, didn’t do his damage with strikeouts. He consistently located, kept the Huskies’ bats guessing and let his sure-handed defense work behind him. The Rebels didn’t record an error in the two-game series.
Hewitt-Trussville did jump on a few pitches, but each well-struck ball seemed to look for a glove to land in. Two of those line drive catches resulted in double plays to kill scoring threats.
“It seemed like when they were trying to come back, they would hit a line drive right at us and we doubled them off twice, and those things were huge,” Walker said.
Bradley Huffstutler and Carson Skipper both took the mound for Hewitt-Trussville head coach Jeff Mauldin. Huffstutler got the start, going three complete to allow three runs with a pair of strikeouts and as many walks.
Skipper threw the remaining three frames. He kept the ball in the strike zone, but an error and multiple extra base hits got the freshman in trouble.
Coleman Kitchens and Nathan Hospes combined to deliver four of the home team’s six extra base hits. Kitchens went 4-for-4, coming a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Hospes hit 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, the second of which was a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning to increase the lead to six.
The final run of the evening was scored on a Landon Crowder sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Kitchens started that frame with a triple.
Vestavia Hills sent one across in each of the first three innings. Their one-run third came thanks to a major shift in the outfield. The shift was so severe that left fielder Grayson Cash was unable to reach a high, lazy fly from D.J. Gann, who tripled off what could have been an easy out. He later scored on a groundout.
“We had them planned, we knew what we were doing, (but) we just didn’t play our game,” Jackson said.
Hewitt-Trussville will be back in area play April 7 at No. 2 Mountain Brook after the IMG National Classic Tournament in Florida next week.