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By Josiah Schulz
Tuesday night was the debut of an epic matchup between two elite pitchers and current teammates for the James Madison University baseball team in Justin Showalter and Hunter Enstminger.
“We knew they pitched a great pitcher in Showalter. We knew we couldn’t let him get into a groove, or else he’d do to us what he does at JMU: mow people down.” Said New Market Shockers’s coach Nolan Potts. “We had a lot of confidence in Hunter. Being that they’re teammates, there was a competitive rivalry going on. I knew how bad Hunter wanted to win this game and he really showed out tonight.
Tonight, however, it would be Enstminger who would emerge victorious in the long-awaited matchup. Entsminger, contributing six strikeouts, would hold the notoriously strong hitting and potent offense of the Bridgewater Reds to just one run until relief pitcher Haden Madagen closed the night, posting 6 more strikeouts and no more runs in the 6-1 victory against Bridgewater.
Showalter’s pitching was not lackluster, holding the shockers to only one run for an entire 5 innings. Late in the 6th, however, Ty Bennett would really turn things on and ignite a flame for the Shockers that would melt away their cold hitting so far in the game.
“Especially early in the game, it was very close. It was just a very good pitching matchup. I just knew that if I was aggressive early in the count, I could get something going for us, and that’s what I tried to do.” Bennett said with a smile.
Bennett began the game with his first two at-bats both resulting in strikeouts. This would not discourage Bennett, giving the Shockers two consecutive RBI’s and would eventually lead the Shockers to their dominant victory.
“Ty is just a competitor.” Exclaimed coach Potts. “He hurt his finger at work and was playing with a sort of cast wrapped around it. Being a veteran on this team, he wanted this victory as much or more than any guy here tonight. What he brought to the game tonight was very important, even with only 9 good fingers”
When asked what the team’s mentality was going into this game tonight, Bennett responded by saying:
“We knew that (Showalter) would come in and throw strikes. We knew if we could get ahead in the count early and attack his fastball we’d be successful. I believe that’s what we did tonight and I’m proud of my guys for achieving that.”
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