Harnett Central dropped a 9-0 varsity baseball contest to visiting Clayton on Thursday night as Comets senior Trey Deutsch threw a no-hitter.
“That guy (Deutsch) was on,” said Harnett Central coach Lance Honeycutt. “That kid’s playing great. Our guys just can’t hit right now. Our JVs can, but it’s a different level when you take the sophomores and move them up. The ball gets faster by about 10 miles-per-hour. The game speeds up. It’s just a different atmosphere. For some of these guys, the learning curve’s kind of tough.
“It’s not like they’re going out there trying to make mistakes. They give us everything they’ve got and sometimes it’s just not enough. There might be teams that have more gifted athletes, but not one team works harder than we do. And we’re going to continue to work and continue to do the things that Trojans do and work harder and focus on the little things and sooner or later, the outlook’s going to turn. I’m proud of my guys, but the light should be shined on Clayton right now. The kid threw a no-hitter against a team that can hit a little bit, but just not as good without Jared Raynor, our best hitter.”
Junior Justin Perkins was the pitcher of record for the Trojans (0-6), yielding one earned run on three hits and no walks, with four strikeouts, across three and two-thirds innings.
Central was without its leading hitter, senior Jared Raynor, because of a shoulder injury.
For the Comets (4-0), Deutsch gave up no runs on no hits, four walks and one hit batter, with 16 strikeouts.
“It’s one of the best games I’ve seen a pitcher throw in a long time,” Honeycutt said.
Central had no hits, but Ryan Hayes drew two walks, Austin Swan and Jackson Jones drew one walk apiece and Hunter McLamb was hit by a pitch to reach base for the Trojans. Hayes also stole second twice.
Senior Hayden Myrick had three hits, including a double, one RBI and two runs scored and sophomore Aaron Smigelski had two hits, one RBI and one run scored to lead Clayton at the plate.
Clayton plated one run in the first inning, four in the fifth and four in the seventh.
Harnett Central won the junior varsity game 11-6.
Clayton is at North Johnston on Monday before starting Greater Neuse 3-A Conference play at Johnston County rival South Johnston on Thursday. Harnett Central opens Tri-County Six 3-A Conference play at Lee County (3-3) on Tuesday.