Pitching hasn’t been a problem for the Bayfield Wolverines in recent years.
Capitalizing on a shutout performance by sophomore Brody McGhehey, the Bayfield High School (12-3) baseball team earned a 3-0 victory against Farmington High School’s junior varsity team, the third win in four games against the New Mexico team this season for the Wolverines.
“Brody pitched the best game of his season, by far,” said BHS sophomore catcher Kelton McCoy. “He was hitting his spots and controlled his off-speed stuff. He kept those guys off-balance from the start.”
In seven innings of work, McGhehey had nine strikeouts. He allowed five hits while walking three. He also plunked Farmington’s Ethan Secrest twice, both times with curveballs that didn’t break.
The curveball was a big weapon for McGhehey. Working the inside of the plate with fastballs, he buckled the knees of the wood-bat wielding Farmington hitters when he dropped curves over the outside of the plate.
“The beginning of the game, it had no movement at all. Toward the end of the game, it started to move, and I could control it,” McGhehey said of his curve. “(Farmington) was crowding the plate pretty good, so the inside fastball was an easy strike because they wouldn’t swing at it.”
McGhehey also benefitted from a solid defensive game by BHS. Anthony Chamblee saved an extra-base hit when he fully extended on a head-first dive to make a catch on a line drive in right field.
“I don’t throw the ball very fast, so I rely on my defense,” said McGhehey, son of Rob and Robin McGhehey. “Those guys played great.”
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Wolverines scored two runs. Taed Heydinger reached on an error to lead off the inning, and Zane Phelps hit a one-out triple to score him. One batter later, McCoy blasted a ground-rule double to bring in Phelps.
McCoy was 2-for-3 in the game with a stolen base, his first of the season.
“It was good to pick up a couple hits. Our bats have kind of been struggling a little bit, but a win is a win,” said McCoy, son of Derek and Loresa McCoy.
BHS scored one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Dillon Hoselton, a junior, led the inning off with a single and eventually scored on a Heydinger single, but Heydinger was thrown out trying to advance to second base for the final out of the inning.
The Wolverines had just six hits in the game and popped out to the infield five times.
“We played well on defense, and our pitcher threw a great game, but we didn’t hit as well as I would like and as well as we have been,” said BHS head coach Jonathon Qualls. “We put up enough runs to get the win, but we popped up way too many balls in the infield. We weren’t hitting it hard like we usually do.”
In a new CHSAANow.com poll released Monday, the Wolverines earned 18 votes, missing a top-10 ranking by one vote behind Cedaredge (11-1). BHS has four games remaining in the regular season with a road trip to Pagosa Springs on Saturday and a home doubleheader May 3 against Centauri.
“Every win counts at this point. Right now, it’s not just the conference games that are big,” Qualls said. “I feel like we have to do everything we can in order to prove maybe we should host a postseason game, if we get to that point.”
When the Wolverines do get into the postseason, Qualls is excited about his pitching rotation with Trey Lange established as the ace and Matthew Knickerbocker claiming the No. 2 spot in the rotation. If McGhehey can solidify himself as a solid No. 3, Qualls knows he has even more solid arms to fill in behind those three if they get into a situation to play three games in three days in the state tournament.
“You need three starters at state, and then you need several other arms behind them. One of the things we’ve run into problems with in the past is other teams having eight or nine pitchers and we only run three deep,” Qualls said. “This year, I think we are several more arms behind our starters than usual.”