ZACHARY -- At a height of 5 feet, 5 inches, Walker pitcher Grant Edwards is used to getting overlooked, and that sums up his prep season as a sophomore.
Tuesday at Herty Park, Edwards was standing tall, tossing a two-hit, complete game shutout in a 3-0 victory against BSN Sports, the Zachary High School-based Metro league team.
Edwards rarely saw the mound as a sophomore, even in junior varsity play, but improved his record to 3-0 with another strong outing. He also knocked in the Wildcats’ first run and made three sparkling defensive plays as the Wildcats improved to 17-6.
“Grant Edwards was phenomenal,” Walker coach Clint Carver said. “He won the game for us. He got all three pitches over. He was inside, outside, spotted up well, and made three or four defensive plays.
“We never had him as a starter, but this summer he’s been pitching like this. Looks can be deceiving. He throws pretty hard for his size, but all in spots. He throws the breaking ball and the change-up and keeps you off balance. He gets ground balls and we’re very good defensively.”
Edwards wasn’t overpowering but quietly efficient, needing only 79 pitches for the complete game. He was scheduled to go five innings, but Carver left him in because of his low pitch count. He retired 11 consecutive batters at one point and retired 13 of the last 15 hitters he faced.
Edward struck out four batters and walked one. Dylan Jackson singled in the first inning and Jamari Vallary in the second for the only BSN hits.
“I was throwing my curveball for strikes and throwing pitches down the middle to let them get hit,” Edwards said. “All I pitched was JV last year but it started clicking for me this summer. I’ve been throwing strikes.”
BSN (3-5) was never out of the game thanks to a good effort by starter Austin Nicholas, who held off the Walker offense until the fourth inning. He allowed four hits and struck out three, but BSN committed an error in each of the first four innings.
“I thought Austin Nicholas threw the best he’s thrown this summer,” BSN coach Jimbo Walker said. “Anytime you give away outs, eventually it will come back to bite you.”
BSN finally got bitten in the fourth when Walker took a 2-0 lead without benefit of a hit. Trevor Matherne reached first on an error and then stole second base. After a walk to Eli Melton, a wild pitch by Nicholas moved the runners up a base. Edwards’ grounder to shortstop scored the first run with Melton advancing to third. He scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Paul Howard.
Walker had another threat snuffed out in the next inning when Cameron Crow singled and Camden Carver hit a double to put runners at second and third with one out. But BSN second baseman Lane Felder made a nice running catch of a pop fly behind second base and threw Crow out at the plate with a perfect strike to Vallary.
Clint Carver was not happy with his team’s offensive effort.
“I thought our approach at the plate was terrible today,” he said. “Before the game we had a lack of focus, and I was frustrated about that. We didn’t get some of our hit and runs downs, and we had some strikeouts.”
Walker did manage to add an insurance run in the seventh inning. With one out, Spencer Murray walked and stole second. He moved to third when Seth Richardson was safe on a fielder’s choice. Walker got Murray home by putting Richardson in a rundown. BSN shortstop Felder’s throw home was wide and Murray scored easily.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to (Edwards),” Walker said. “He threw multiple pitches for strikes and his defense made all the plays behind him; that’s baseball.
“We’re really young. We have only two guys with varsity experience. A lot of guys are playing with travel teams. We’re growing up. They’re learning how to play the game, how to compete. We’re not winning as many as we want but development is the key to the summer.”