CLINCHPORT — Twin Springs pitcher Jared Finch evidently is a man of few words.
With the 6-foot-5 sophomore on the mound Tuesday, Rye Cove was a team of few hits.
Finch struck out nine in tossing a two-hitter and the Titans’ took a 10-1 Cumberland District baseball victory on the road.
“I felt good. Our defense played good. And we hit good,” said Finch (3-1), who walked nobody but put one on board with a hit by pitch.
One of the hits he gave up was a double by Dustin Hill in the fourth inning that was soon erased by Nathan Sluss’ unassisted double play at second.
The lone run scored against Finch occurred in the sixth. Chris Lane got to first on a third-strike passed ball. He stole second, went to third on a groundout and finally scored on a passed ball — one pitch before Finch struck out Steven James to end the inning.
“Finch has thrown the ball good all year. He’s thrown strikes and keeps them off balance. We’re glad he’s just a sophomore,” said Twin Springs coach Mike Castle, whose squad is battling with Coeburn and St. Paul for one of the district’s two Region D tournament berths.
Rye Cove coach Terry Fields said Finch pitched a solid game, but he thought his lineup’s collective slump enhanced the pitcher’s stature.
“We can’t win getting two hits a ballgame. We made Finch look like he should be playing for the Yankees,” Fields said.
“I thought we could hit the ball better. We should’ve laid into his fastball. And we didn’t.”
The Titans (7-1, 4-1) hammered out 15 hits, 13 against Rye Cove’s Adam Pearcy (0-3). Seven of those fell in the fifth inning, which saw Twin Springs score six runs to leap out to a 9-0 lead.
Kris Jordan and David Campbell each went 3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and an RBI for the Titans. Sluss was 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI, Richie Morefield went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, Logan Gardner was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Finch finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
“Any time you play county rival schools, everybody wants to win. After we saw they beat Castlewood yesterday, we wanted to come out and prove that we were as good as anybody,” Castle said. “The kids were pretty focused today.”
Defensively, the War Eagles (2-5, 1-3) collected one highlight-worthy moment in the fourth inning after Finch, who got on with a single, bolted to second on Sluss’ hard rip to left deep in the corner.
Hill, the Rye Cove left fielder, ran it down and robbed Sluss with a great catch. As the surprised Finch scrambled to get back, the southpaw outfielder smoked a no-hop throw to first for the double play.
“I’ve been pitching him some. He’s a little wild,” Fields said of Hill. “Maybe he’s better from 300 feet than he is from 60. I think that was a strike, from there to first.”