HUNTINGTON - Homestead senior Jake Weber threw a one-hit shutout on Saturday morning as the Spartans advanced to the Huntington North Sectional championship game with a 2-0 victory over the host Vikings at Huntington University.
Weber, who was knocked around by No. 2-ranked Huntington North earlier this season in an 11-9 defeat, surrendered just three baserunners in the game, including a pair of in the bottom of the seventh in which the Vikings had the winning run at-bat.
But Weber induced a double play that ended the game and put No. 8 Homestead into the title game.
“I noticed from the first time we played them that I was getting ahead in the first couple of innings and held them scoreless, then I went away from my fastball,” Weber said. “I guess I was a little timid to throw it. This time, I tried to attack the strike zone, get ahead of all the batters and I guess it worked out.”
Weber struck out five in the game, relying on his defense behind him to make plays.
“I feel like we have the best infield in the state ... and our outfield is just as good,” Weber said. “I am more of a ground ball pitcher and that’s what I tried to do.”
The lone runs in the game came in the fifth inning on four hits, just one of which left the infield. Michael Redden led the inning off with a single, then was replaced by Brad Hartman, who moved to second on a sacrifice. Josh Caccamo then laid a perfect bunt down the third base line for a hit to put runners at first and third.
After an out, back-to-back infield singles by Austin Plasterer and Brandon Soat drove two runs home for the Spartans.
Despite the run support, Weber did not detour from his approach over the final innings.
“I just tried to continue to stay ahead and keep (Huntington North) off balance,” Weber said.
A hit and an error gave the Vikings a pair of baserunners and some life in the final inning, but Andre Jernigan made a fine play at shortstop to begin the game-ending double play.
“We pride ourselves on defense and putting the ball in play,” Homestead coach Steve Sotir said. “We just have to continue to play consistent baseball.”
Huntington North finishes the season with a 28-2 record, setting a school record for wins.
Homestead (24-4) will take on either Jay County or South Side in tonight’s sectional championship beginning at 7 p.m.