In a matter of speaking, Evan Hesse did it all for the Newport Harbor Baseball Assn.’s 12-and-under All-Stars on Saturday morning.
Like any good teammate, the Newport Harbor starting pitcher might disagree, pointing to strong defensive efforts made by the left side of his infield.
Good stories deserve embellishment, and by the end of the game, right fielder Jack Davey was raving that Hesse was throwing a 150-mph fastball.
That would be historic, but Hesse turned in a fine showing just the same. Hesse threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits with five strikeouts in an 11-0 win against Dana Point to open the teams’ PONY Bronco 12U district tournament at the Placentia Champions Sports Complex.
“It is my go-to pitch, but I do like throwing the curveball a lot, too,” Hesse said of the heavy fastball he possesses.
Only three balls left the infield against Hesse, meaning that his infield had plenty of work to do. Newport Harbor did not commit an error in the game.
“Our defense was helping out,” Hesse added. “Our shortstop [Bryson Shea] made a few plays up the middle and [third baseman] Parker [Purcell] made a few plays.”
Hesse made his impact felt at the plate, too. He went four for four with three runs batted in. He added three runs scored and two stolen bases. His two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth clinched Newport Harbor’s victory via the mercy rule.
After six innings pitched, Hesse had thrown 72 of the possible 85 pitches allowed for the age group limit. Stepping up to the plate with a 9-0 lead and two outs in the inning, Hesse thought that he would be going back out to the mound when he first made contact.
“Not at all,” Hesse said when asked if he thought the ball was gone off the bat. “I thought it was a pop-up, but it carried.”
A pitchers’ duel broke out in the early innings, with Newport Harbor finally scratching a run across in the fourth against Dana Point’s Braden Butler. Cruz Collier grounded a ball to the left side of the infield, and he beat out the throw to score Hesse.
Purcell doubled the lead in the fifth when his single plated Nicolas Montgomery.
In the fourth, Purcell used a bare-handed pickup to throw out Butler on a groundball up the third-base line. Asked if he had learned how to make such a play by watching the professionals, Purcell said, “I used to watch a lot [of Major League Baseball]. My favorite player’s Yasiel Puig, and I watch all of the Dodgers games.”
Purcell looked like Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner on that play.
Davey, Newport Harbor’s leadoff hitter, had opposite-field doubles to right field in the fifth and sixth innings. He credited a new bat for his power display.
“I got a new bat,” Davey said. “It’s a Drop Five, so it’s pretty heavy and big. It makes [the ball] go far, and my coach taught me a good [swing].”
With Davey already making changes to his equipment, it seemed fair to wonder when he would switch to a wooden bat. He had an answer for that, too.
“In the MLB,” the confident young outfielder said.
Hesse, Davey and Collier all notched multi-hit performances. Aidan Callahan, Montgomery and Shea also drove in runs for Newport Harbor.