MARSHALL - Marshall pitcher Drew Hmielewski could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
The Tigers sophomore had just tossed a perfect game as MHS defeated Worthington 7-0 in a Southwest Conference game on Tuesday at American Legion Field.
There were numerous factors working against Hmielewski. There was the fact that he told his catcher Walker Werpy that they were going to have to grind it out because his arm was a little sore before the game.
Photo by David Merrill
Marshall pitcher Drew Hmielewski (21) is congratulated by his teammates after throwing a 7-0 perfect game against Southwest Conference rival Worthington on Tuesday at American Legion Field. Hmielewski had 10 strikeouts in the process.
There was the fact that teammate Connor Winkleman tipped him off as to what was going on in the fourth inning.
Finally, there were the nine Worthington hitters - none of whom reached base.
After battling through a count that featured three foul balls mixed in with a 3-2 count, Hmielewski recorded his 10th strikeout to complete his perfect effort.
"It was a great defensive outing and it all starts with Drew," Marshall coach Chace Pollock said. "He gets better with every outing. From the start of the year until the end, he has developed into a really solid pitcher."
Hmielewski also worked in the field as well as he had three putouts. He accounted for 13 of the 21 total outs for Marshall. Of his 88 total pitches, 59 of them were strikes.
"I was pretty happy and relieved," Hmielewski said. "I'm just glad that my defense did its job. They helped me out a lot. I couldn't have done it without them."
While his defense was in form behind him, the other end of the battery in front of him, Werpy, played a key role as well.
The two have been building chemistry over the course of the season and it finally hit a high note.
"Werpy was giving me a good mix behind the plate," Hmielewski said. "He was blocking the balls he needed to, he was giving me good calls and helping me out back there."
Werpy quickly saw that, whatever soreness lived in his arm before the game, had evaporated quickly.
Worthington was behind his pitches seemingly all day and hit very few balls past the infield.
"He has a lot of confidence in me and I have a lot of confidence in him," Werpy said. "I knew by about the second or third inning that this was going to be a good game for him. He came out and proved it. When he's on, he's on."
Hmielewski's teammates, gave him plenty of run support in the victory.
Connor Winkleman had a two-RBI double, coming in the fourth inning to help break the game open. Marshall added two more runs in the fourth thanks to Worthington errors.
Bryce Johnson, Hmielewski and Noah Winkleman all finished the game with one RBI.
Worthington coach Stacy Sauerbrei was frustrated with the way his guys played defensively, but gave all the credit to Hmielewski on the mound.
"He had strong command of the strike zone," Sauerbrei said. "Sometimes, you just have to tip your hat to the opposing team. It was a nice performance from him. Defensively, we just gave them extra bases. You can't do that against a good team. We'd also like to have a better approach at the plate. He made some very nice pitches. He's a nice player and a nice kid."
Marshall came into the contest winning just two out of their past five games. The Tigers will hit the road again on Thursday with a 13-4 record as they travel to play Jackson County Central (1-12).
Marshall 7, Worthington 0
Worthington 000 000 0-0 0 2
Marshall 100 411 X-7 8 0
Hitting: Worthington (No hits) Marshall (C. Winkleman 1-for-3, two RBI, two runs; Johnson 1-for-3, RBI, two runs; N. Winkleman 1-for-4, RBI; Rasmussen 2-for-3, run; Douglas 0-for-2, run; Hoeft, 0-for-2 run; Campion 1-for-2).
Pitching: Worthington (Lee 6-8-7-4-6-5) Marshall (Hmielewski 7-0-0-0-0-10).