Eric Moore didn’t give Halls much of a chance.
As a result, Union City blew through Crichfield Park to claim the District 14A baseball championship over the host school Thursday night.
Moore tossed a no-hitter, one allowed walk away from a perfect game, as UC picked up a 3-0 win over the Tigers in the title game.
The Golden Tornadoes, now 25-7, will host the opening round of the Region 7A Tournament next week, playing District 13A runner-up McKenzie 7 p.m. at Ladd Field/Elam Stadium.
Moore was one walk away from a perfect game as he kept the Tiger lineup tied up all night.
Facing the 22 batters, Moore registered eight strikeouts in his masterpiece. He threw just 71 pitches, getting 48 over for strikes. He started off 17 batters with a strike to get ahead in the count.
“He was fantastic,” UC head coach Jeremy Maddox said of Moore. “That’s the best I’ve ever seen him pitch. In a game like that, you have to step up, and you can’t get much more clutch than that.”
In addition to the eight Ks, Moore was helped by his defense with seven ground-outs and six fly-outs, all of those chances handled flawlessly.
“Especially in a tournament, you can’t give teams extra outs,” Maddox said. “Eric kept them off-balance, and he pitched with a lot of confidence because the defense was so good behind him.”
Drake Parker, named MVP of the tournament, was 3-for-3 with a double at the plate and scored two runs. Drew Cooley and Christian Cousar each added a hit, Cooley driving in a run.
UC struck for one run in the bottom of the first inning as Parker led off with a base hit and scored on Cooley’s two-out hit to left field.
The score remained 1-0 until the fifth inning when UC scored its other two runs.
Again leading off the inning, Parker doubled, went to third on Luke Searcy’s ground-out and scored when Caleb Long reached base via a dropped third strike.
“Since he first started playing, Drew has always been that sparkplug for us,” Maddox said. “He’s a really good table-setter. When he gets on, good things usually happen. He swung a hot bat for us throughout the tournament.”
Cooley reached base on an error, Long using that misplay to move to second and then scoring on a pair of passed balls for the second run of the inning.
Moore closed strong as he got Clayton Dew to fly out to Parker in centerfield and Zach Harris to ground out to Cooley at third. He then struck out Noah Goodwin to end the game.
For Halls, Chisholm Vaughan struck out 10 and walked only one while allowing five hits. He also had three wild pitches, while his defense was guilty of four errors. Vaughan threw 113 pitches, 72 for strikes.
“I have to tip my cap to Halls,” Maddox said. “They played hard, and their pitcher kept us off-balance. We were able to manufacture some runs, and our defense and pitching stepped up.”
In four tournament games, UC outscored its opponents 24-5.
Published in The Messenger 5.10.13