Hoelzen pitches shutout in Douglas victory
The last time Douglas junior Tyler Hoelzen took the mound, it was in the Northern 4A Regional Championship game against a Galena High lineup that featured some of the fiercest bats in the state, including two Division I signees.
While he more than held his own against the Grizzlies in that game, needless to say, the circumstances were a little different Friday afternoon at Damonte Ranch in the Mike Bearman Memorial Preseason Tournament.
Hoelzen struck out six, walked one and surrendered four hits in a complete-game shutout as Douglas picked up a 4-0 win over Damonte Ranch.
“I think anytime I go out on the mound I get butterflies,” Hoelzen said. “But I was able to settle in early.
“I was just trying to locate the fastball and keep it down. The defense was great behind me and Jordan (Hadlock) did a great job at the plate.”
It was the play of the defense, which went without an error, that allowed Hoelzen to keep his pitch-count down and go the distance in the game.
“Tyler got ahead all day,” coach John Glover said. “I don’t know how many times we looked at the scoreboard and it was a 1-2 or 0-2 count. That’s key.
“And we played very well defensively. Anytime you go errorless in a high school baseball game, it gives the pitcher a chance to not have to throw as many pitches and to not have to get out of as many jams on his own.”
Indeed, Hoelzen only threw 92 pitches in seven innings, including just nine pitches apiece in the first and third innings.
Meanwhile, the Tiger offense did all of its damage in the first inning.
Left fielder Zack McFadden led off with a single to left and Hoelzen singled through the middle before Hadlock hit a two-run triple off the centerfield wall.
Tim Rudnick sacrificed Hadlock home and freshman Kameron VanWinkle later singled Jeff Crozier home.
After that, though, Douglas managed just two more hits in the game.
“Give credit to their guy,” Glover said. “He settled in and threw a good game.
“I thought our approach was decent, but we still have to learn to drive the ball the other way. We can’t just be happy with hitting it over there. Our approach was right, it’s just a matter of putting it into practice now.
“Damonte Ranch is a quality program and we’re happy to get out of here with a win.”