Zane Glass got into a pitching rhythm early Thursday evening.
That spelled disaster for Oakland’s hitters.
The Blackman junior right-handed pitcher threw a one-hitter to help the Blaze shut out the visiting Patriots 3-0 in an hour and 18 minutes to take the District 7-AAA series 2-1 and keep them deep in the hunt for a regular-season district title.
“There has always been two keys for him,” Blackman coach Justin Entrekin said. “One, we always know he’s going to compete. And two, when he’s in a good rhythm, he’s going to throw lots of strikes.
“He was throwing strikes, then he was right back on top of the rubber, ready to throw the next one.”
Blackman (13-11 overall, 8-4 in 7-AAA) trails Riverdale (18-9, 9-3) by a game in the District 7-AAA standings entering the final series. But Riverdale owns the tiebreaker over Blackman after beating the Blaze 2-1 in their series.
Riverdale plays Oakland (20-5, 7-5) in its final 7-AAA series. Blackman plays La Vergne (18-5, 7-5).
Glass gave up a first-inning, two-out single to Rhett Stacey, which Stacey advanced to second on a fielding error.
Glass (2-0) retired the side in order the remaining six innings. He allowed one batter in the second when he walked Penn Moore. But Glass then picked off Moore at first base.
“He was locating well, changed it up well and we didn’t hit very well,” Oakland coach Mack Hawks said. “I’ll give him credit. He pitched a good game.”
Glass struck out just two batters — both in the first inning. But he benefited from a defense that finished with just one error a night after the Blaze recorded four errors in a loss to Oakland.
“Alex Brown, my catcher, and I really work well together,” Glass said. “He knows the batters, and he knew their tendencies. I hit spots.”
Brown was at catcher in place of Austin Reynolds, who injured his right wrist in Wednesday’s game when a foul ball hit him while he was behind the plate. Entrekin said it is not yet known the severity of the injury. Reynolds leads the team with a .417 average this season.
Blackman scored a run in the second when Kasey Wheeler doubled past a diving Moore to score Jamie Kent, who had singled. The Blaze added two more runs an inning later off Oakland starter Devin Cairo. Austin Mosier singled in Logan Fleener, who had doubled.
Mosier then scored on a dropped third strike when Peyton Motroni’s throw got past first baseman Sam Douglas.
Glass said the team had extra fielding work prior to the series finale.
“A lot of the credit goes to the defense,” Glass said. “They made all of the plays — ground balls and pop flies. To come out with just one hit, I was glad.”
Blackman 3, Oakland 0
Oakland 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
Blackman 012 000 x — 3 10 1
Cairo, Pearson (6), Gilbert (6) and Motroni. Glass and Brown. WP: Glass (2-0). LP: Cairo (3-2).