Brandon Tucker and Jayden Stratton combined to throw a four-hit shutout to lead Hendersonville to a 6-0 win over Lebanon on Tuesday at Drakes Creek Park in District 9-AAA action.
“It’s good to continue the district win streak,” said Tucker, who started the game on the mound for the Commandos.
Tucker held the Blue Devils to two hits and no runs through 4.2 innings before handing the ball over to Stratton, who finished the game allowing only two more hits.
“He had a pretty good fastball,” Hendersonville coach Mike Hendrix said of Tucker, who will play collegiately at Freed-Hardeman University. “He threw a good game.
“The big thing tonight for us was we didn’t have to use a lot of pitchers, leaving the pitching staff in good shape for Wednesday’s rematch at Lebanon.”
Tucker faced some trouble in the first and third innings allowing two runners in each, but was able to pitch out of it both times.
His biggest test came in the fourth inning when he walked the bases loaded with one out and the top of Lebanon’s lineup coming to the plate.
But he responded by striking out Chase Birdwell and Luke Bradshaw to get out of the inning unscathed. He caught Bradshaw looking at a called third strike on a full count.
“It felt good to pitch out of trouble,” Tucker said. “A lot of pressure was off at that point.”
Hendersonville opened the scoring in the first inning when Grant Lang scored on a groundout by Nate Vaughn and Tyler Stith raced home on Gaylen Rutledge’s single.
The Commandos added a third run in the second inning when Luke McClendon and Lang pulled off a double steal.
When the Lebanon catcher’s throw sailed into left field, McClendon scored, but Lang was cut down at the plate to end the inning.
Back-to-back doubles by Rutledge and Eli Warrington produced two more runs in the fifth inning for Hendersonville, and Matthew Dorris scored the last run of the game after he reached on a single, made it to third base on two wild pitches, and came home on a ground out to the shortstop by Lang.
Rutledge led Hendersonville offensively going 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs. Also collecting hits for the Commandos were Stith, Warrington, Caid Sanders, McLendon and Dorris. Lang and Vaughn each had an RBI. Stith scored twice and Lang, McLendon and Dorris all scored once.
“Gaylen had some big hits,” Hendrix said of Rutledge.
The win improved Hendersonville’s record to 7-3 and 3-0 in the district, while Lebanon fell to 6-6 and 1-2. Hendersonville will travel to Lebanon on Wednesday to complete the two-game set. The Commandos will have two more district games when they face Portland on the road at 7 p.m. Thursday and at home at 7 p.m. Friday.
“It’s a big week with four district games,” Hendrix said.