Hunter leads Barlow to victory over Gresham
Mt. Hood Conference
GRESHAM — The Jaren Hunter show was on full display for the Barlow baseball squad on Monday afternoon.
The Bruins sophomore stud pitched a complete game one-hitter on the mound and hit a solo homer at the plate to give Barlow the 2-1 victory over Gresham in their Mt. Hood Conference opener.
"I've come to expect that type of performance from Jaren with what he's done so far this season. This was a special day for him," Barlow head coach Scott Hunter said. "Gresham is a really good baseball team, so for us to come out and battle for seven innings to get the win was exciting to see."
It looked like the Barlow offense was on their way to having an explosive day at the plate after back-to-back doubles from Tyler Ostgarden and Stuart Webber in the bottom of the first gave the Bruins the early 1-0 lead. But once Gresham pitcher Trevor Bless got into a groove, it became apparent that this was going to be a hotly-contested pitcher's duel.
"(Bless) left some balls up in the zone early that were hit pretty hard, but he did a good job getting himself out of jams and letting the defense work behind him," Gresham head coach Ryan Miller said.
While Barlow had runners on base every inning, the same could not be said for the Gresham offense. The Gophers had a pair of men on base thanks to a walk and an error in the top of the second, but Hunter forced Dane Barnham to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Gresham wouldn't have another runner reach base until the sixth inning. Hunter had the Gopher hitters fooled for the majority of the game — with his curveball and changeup being his most effective pitches.
"It really helped that I was getting ahead early in the count so then I could go to any off-speed pitch that I wanted to," Hunter said. "I was able to throw all three of my pitches for strikes the whole game and that is what kept (Gresham) guessing the whole time."
The Gophers finally got their first hit of the game in the top of the sixth inning on a single to left field by Donavon Frost. A sacrifice bunt from Reece McKenzie advanced Frost to second and he would later score on an error by Ostgarden at first base, which tied the score at 1-1.
Look for extended coverage in the April 6 print edition.