Hendel leads CHS to 2-1 win over West
"Andrew Hendel just won that game."
Those were the words of Cuthbertson High baseball coach Travis Little after his team improved to 5-0 in the Rocky River Conference with a 2-1 home victory over West Stanly on Friday.
The Cavaliers (6-1 overall) scored a run in each of the first two innings and senior Andrew Hendel held the Colts down the rest of the way.
Hendel gave up his only run of the game in the top of the first on a two-out single, but held the Colts in check the rest of the way. He threw 124 pitches.
"It felt really good because this was the first game where I had all three pitches working," said Hendel, who has signed with Western Carolina. "My last few starts I only had my fastball and I wasn't spotting my change up that well. It felt really good today.
"I just felt more prepared since it was my third start. I had a long off-season so I had to get acclimated to the mound and stuff. It feels good after getting a couple under my belt."
Hendel struck out 10 batters while giving up five hits.
Appalachian State signee Drake Zupcic crossed the plate in the bottom of the first inning, tying the game on a single by Bailey Connell.
Zupcic had the game-winning RBI on a sacrifice fly to right that scored Will Fussy in the bottom of the second inning.
The Colts had a runner on third in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but Hendel picked up five strikeouts with runners on the hot corner.
Hendel admitted it was tough going out each inning with just a one run cushion to protect.
"It's nerve-racking but you have to keep your composure and concentrate on the little things," Hendel said.
Connell finished 2-for-3 from the plate and Fussy went 2-for-2 with a double.
The victory sets up a showdown for the top spot in the conference on Tuesday when the Cavaliers travel to Piedmont. The Panthers are also 5-0 in the RRC.
"Our main concern is playing at our level," Little said. "Playing our game at our mental level, our physical level and playing with high energy. We try not to get too concerned with things we can't control, like other teams. Piedmont is the same way as us and West Stanly too, when you're a team that wants to compete at the top of your conference. You want to make sure you go out there and do everything you can every single game."'
Hendel is ready for the test: "I'm pumped for it."