When a swing from a Canyon batter connected with Hart catcher Trever Coogan’s hand, there was no doubt in any onlooker’s mind that it was broken.
There was only brief panic, though, as Jakob Marquez suited up in his catchers gear.
“I love Coogan to death,” said Indians pitcher Bryce Collins. “He’s my buddy and I love throwing to him, but we do a good job mixing everyone in … I really feel comfortable with anyone we roll out with here.”
The next-man-up mentality that Hart has kept throughout this season led them to a 10-0 win over Canyon on Wednesday at Hart.
The scoring began in the second inning as the Indians chalked up a run on an error. Two more Canyon errors gave Hart another pair of runs, then a sacrifice fly from David Holuby drove in a run to set them up with a 4-0 lead.
Josh Cerpa launched an RBI double in the Indians’ third at-bat of the fourth frame. Coogan, who injured his hand in the fifth inning, scored Cerpa with a double of his own, then Brooks Statley scored Coogan with another double.
After a scoreless fifth, Marquez once again stepped in for Coogan. He hit a two-run double to give Hart a 9-0 advantage over the Cowboys.
“It’s been a struggle for Jakob this year,” Collins said. “He’s having some arm problems and it’s been an off year for him and to come in basically cold off the bench and come in a catch me and double off the wall, it’s a good thing moving forward.”
Sam Lao polished off Hart’s scoring with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.
Canyon’s Steven Cornell went 2-for-3 at the plate and also pitched five innings. Mason West threw one inning of relief, allowing three hits and recording one strikeout.
Collins pitched a complete seven innings, striking out 10 while giving up two hits.
The series between Hart and Canyon resumes on Friday at Canyon at 3:30 p.m.
With three games left in Foothill League play and two players out with injury (Cole Roederer suffered a grade 3 AC tear last week), the Indians are looking to garner some momentum before the postseason.
“We welcome the challenge and nobody’s going to feel sorry for Hart High School, so we’re going to have to rally.”