ELLENBORO — East Rutherford’s Mason Huffstickler had an incredible night from the pitching mound throwing 11 strikeouts and only giving up one hit in the Cavaliers’ 5-0 win over the R-S Central Hilltoppers Tuesday night, March 14. R-S Central could not find their groove at the Jungle.
“I thought Mason (Huffstickler) did a good job at pitching out of some jams, he didn’t really have his best stuff tonight but he competed for us on the mound and we played good defense behind him,” East Rutherford’s head coach Drew Reynolds said. Despite the strikeout total, Huffstickler started off in a tough spot. After walking the lead-off batter and giving up the only hit of the game on the second batter, Huffstickler settled down and struck out the side.
“It’s just part of battling adversity, it’s just part of being a pitcher,” Huffstickler said. “When things go wrong you have to find the one thing that will go right.”
After throwing three walks in the second inning and loading the bases with two outs. A fielder’s choice ended the inning but Huffstickler had found his groove. Starting in the third inning, Huffstickler sat down 10 straight batters.
“After I found my curve ball then it opened me to find my slider and fastball and I was dotting it on the corners,” Huffstickler said. “I was really confident in my defense. I knew that if I fielded it up they would make a play and I would be completely fine. It worked out to just good defense and a good team win.”
Once Huffstickler found his groove, the Hilltoppers came right out of theirs. Hayden Wilson recorded the only hit for the Hilltoppers in the top of the first. The Hilltoppers continued to make contact but couldn’t find an open field.
“Their guy threw a heck of a game,” R-S Central head coach Chadd Fowler said. “He kept us off balance and threw some good pitches. We never got the bats rolling — we had a chance to get one in the first but after three straight punch outs we lost our momentum, let him off the hook and that was kind of the end of the night.”
When the Hilltoppers’ bats fell off after the first, the Cavaliers picked theirs up scoring runs in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. Despite scoring five runs on a total of eight hits, Reynolds thinks they missed the big one.
“We found some ways to get some guys on throughout the whole game but we really just missed the one big hit to blow the game open,” Reynolds said. “We felt like we had a lot more chances to extend that lead but we are fortunate and thankful that we won. Colby Condrey did a good job competing at the plate for us. He’s a young kid but he’s talented and he’s all about the team. He competed for us and got some big knocks for us tonight.”
Condrey crossed the plate three times on the night and finished the night going 4-4 with two doubles, two singles, and two RBIs.
“R-S is a good team we were just able to find some hits and get a good team win,” Condrey said. “I’m just trying to help my team any way I can just put runs on the board and help the team.”
The Hilltoppers and Cavaliers faced off again Thursday night, March 16 at the Palace, check online or in print in Saturday’s edition of The Daily Courier for the story.