South Louisiana rain wiped out Garrett Williams’ first start of his senior season.
By the time Monday’s home opener rolled around, Calvary’s left-handed ace was more than ready to go.
Williams started his highly anticipated season with a two-hit, complete-game shutout, beating Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove, 4-0, on Monday night in front of a cadre of scouts.
“A couple of weeks ago, we had the opening tournament in Patterson that got rained out, so I was anxious to get out here and throw like I did,” said Williams, an Oklahoma State signee who has drawn plenty of attention as it pertains to June’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
“Everything felt on-line (Monday), and it was working.”
Williams (1-0) extended Calvary’s season-opening scoreless streak to 14 innings, backing up a shutout of Mamou in the Cavaliers’ opener almost two weeks ago.
He did so by throwing a heavy dose of fastballs early, pitching the first inning in the 90-91 mph range, before going to his curveball and slider to keep the Hawks (6-5) off-balance.
“We didn’t want to show those guys the off-speed the first time through, so we did a lot of shake fastballs,” Calvary coach Todd Walker said. “As we went along, no one really touched his slider. We picked our spots. There were a few base hits to right I would like to have back that probably should have been sliders, but you can’t complain.”
With Williams spotting his fastball and getting swings and misses with his breaking pitches, he didn’t need a lot of offensive support. With the way Hawks right-hander Jared Bayless was pitching, the Cavaliers’ scoring opportunities were limited.
Calvary did, however, jump on Bayless for four unearned runs in the second inning, giving Williams all the support he needed.
The Cavaliers turned an error on a routine fly ball to right field into the key play of the game, as Calvary collected three of its four hits after Hudson Hopkins’ misplay.
Lane Falcon drove in the first run when his high chopper to a drawn-in shortstop was mishandled, allowing Luke Williams to score without a throw. A wild pitch and RBI singles from Ryan Leone and Robby Horn accounted for the other runs.
“It just snowballed on us,” said Pleasant Grove coach Craig Jones, whose team is the defending Texas Class 3A champions. “We had to pull the infield in, and they beat the chopper out. Then the wild pitch, and the one or two runs — or what should have been no runs — turned into a crooked number against us. Four down to that guy (Williams) is tough to come back.”
As is usually the case, Williams had some defensive help behind him.
After Ty Harp coaxed a leadoff walk from Williams to start the fourth inning, Dylan Silvey slipped a grounder through Williams’ legs but saw Kailen Glover use a backhanded glove flip to start a highlight-reel double play.
Williams froze the next batter with an inside fastball to close the inning and snuff out the Hawks’ momentum.
“That was a big play for us,” Williams said. “That’s the thing about baseball, you’ve got to have your defense behind you helping you all the way.”