ASHBURN – Hanover pitcher Levi Huesman went the distance in the VHSL Class 4 state championship game at Broad Run Saturday. He matched Spartan starter in giving up just one hit. He gave up just one earned run, compared with two for Hale. He walked three batters as opposed to six, struck out six batters as opposed to five, and gave up no home runs while Hale gave up on.
On paper, that should have added up to a win in what was a gem of a pitchers’ duel.
But it wasn’t. Three Hanover errors yielded two unearned runs as Broad Run, which took a 2-0 lead in the second inning and held on for a 3-2 win and the state title.
“Levi threw great, Levi did everything we needed him to do on the mound today,” said Hanover head coach Tyler Kane. “It was just one of those days when the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. We hit some hard baseballs right at people, and they found a way to manufacture one more run than we did.”
Broad Run’s two-run second inning began with the Spartans’ only hit, a double to left field by Tyler Morley. Joseph Morley bunted into a fielder’s choice, and an error on the play allowed Morley to advance to third and score while Ferguson reached second. Ferguson advanced to third on a groundout and scored on another Hanover error.
Broad Run added another run in the fifth. Jacob Flicker opened the Spartan half of the inning with a walk. He advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on another Hanover error on a grounder by Adam Chow.
“The unearned runs were on different plays. They were two tough plays,” Kane said. “Broad Run did a good job of applying pressure on us on the bases. When they got guys, they did a good job of applying pressure and made us make some uncomfortable throws.”
Hanover rallied with two outs in the sixth. Caden Plummer walked, and Seth Keller followed him with a two-run home run to center field.
The two-running inning was a rare burst of offence against Broad Run’s Hale.
“He’s got three pitches for a strike,” Kane said. “He’s tough holding runners. He throws three pitches for a strike. Anybody who can do that is going to give himself a shot.
“Levi on our side did the same thing. It was a pitchers’ duel. That’s how it always is in this game, it seems.”
The Hawks threatened again with two outs in the seventh. Charlie Rohr hit a hard ground ball to first base, but Flicker bobbled it and Rohr, finding Hale blocking his path, shoved the pitcher out of the way to get to the bag.
“He’s got a right to first base. It was just one of those things where the pitcher was coming over to cover,” Kane said. “Hale was going hard to the ball and Charlie was going hard to first base.”
Rohr was subbed by pinch runner Chase Flora, and Hale, one out shy of a complete game, was relieved by left-hander Ethan Walker. Designated hitter Cole Elrod worked the count to 3-2 before Walker picked Flora off at first to end the game.
“The lefty’s got a really good move over to first base,” Kane said. “It was just one of those things where he came over with his best move.”
Dave Lawrence can be reached at email@example.com.