Hough High baseball coach Jimmy Cochran says pitching and defense are likely to be the trademarks of his team in its bid for a third straight conference title this season.
Those commodities were on display Tuesday evening, when the Huskies blanked Marvin Ridge 8-0 for the championship of the Smoothie King Queen City Classic at South Mecklenburg’s field.
Cole Maye, a 6-foot-6 junior who has committed to Florida for baseball, pitched a one-hitter over six innings as Hough ran its record to 9-3 against the Mavericks (9-3), who a day earlier had handed nationally ranked Providence its first loss.
Maye was supported by errorless defense and timely offense.
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“Cole was a basketball player and is working himself into baseball shape,” Cochran said. “This was the longest he’d pitched this season.”
“I felt pretty good today,” Maye said. “I probably could have finished, but I was near 90 pitches and that was enough.”
Tom McCarthy pitched the seventh for Hough.
Cochran, whose team trails Hopewell by a game in the MECKA 4A standings, says the Huskies also are working themselves into shape.
“We’re starting to get some complete games from our pitchers,” he says. “And defensively, the two guys in the middle (second baseman Blake Matthews and shortstop Brooks Carroll) are seniors who have played in those positions since their sophomore seasons.”
Cochran says offense is the question mark.
“We’ll need to get the timely hits this season,” he says.
Cole Parks blasted a fastball over the fence for a two-run homer in the second inning, and Hough chased Marvin Ridge starter Demarco Reaves with four runs in the third.
The two coaches are no strangers to one another. Marvin Ridge’s Mark Mennitt coached Cochran at Independence High about 15 years ago. The two coached against each other often when Cochran was at Parkwood High in Union County, but their meetings are less frequent now.
“I always enjoy coaching against him,” Cochran said.
Smoothie King Classic
South Mecklenburg 6, Watauga 0: Winning pitcher Colby Bruce slammed a three-run homer for the Sabres.
Weddington 3, Ardrey Kell 1: The Warriors (4-8) avenged a season-opening loss to the Knights (8-5) and snapped a six-game losing streak.
Jack Sink Invitational
Lake Norman Charter 6, Catholic 3: Junior Nick Nail scattered seven hits as the Knights won their second straight in the tournament.
Myers Park 8, Hurricane (W.Va.) 0: The Mustangs improved to 4-8 with a victory.
Covenant Day 2, Mallard Creek 1: The Lions scored in the bottom of the ninth for the victory.
Providence Day 3, North Mecklenburg 1: Will Madairy pitched a three-hitter for the Chargers, and teammates Ryan Burgoyne and Justin Murray each had two hits.
Country Day 18, East Mecklenburg 1: The Buccaneers sent 13 batters to the plate in an eight-run second inning. Cole Bloomer had three hits for the victors.
Late Monday: Charlotte Christian edged Myers Park 6-4, and Hurricane (W.Va.) scored five times in the seventh to beat Charlotte Country Day 7-5.
Wednesday’s games: (at Myers Park) Lake Norman Charter vs. Mallard Creek, noon; Charlotte Latin vs. North Mecklenburg, 2:30; Country Day vs. Catholic, 5; Myers Park vs. Providence Day, 7:30. (at East Mecklenburg) Hopewell vs. Hickory Ridge, noon; Charlotte Christian vs. Hurricane (W.Va.), 2:30; East Mecklenburg vs. Covenant Day, 5.
On Deck Invitational
West Charlotte beat Garinger 12-2, and Harding edged Vance 10-9 in eight innings Tuesday. Wednesday’s championship at West Charlotte High will pit the host Lions against Harding at 2 p.m., following the 11 a.m. consolation between Garinger and Vance.