Hylton junior Andre Scrubb can make a strong impression, whether it’s on Westfield batters in tossing a four-hitter Friday night in a 6-1 home win, or on a vulnerable curveball that he powered over the 400-foot center field fence in the first inning for a two-run homer.
But Scrubb also can be impressionable himself: On a baseball recruiting visit to the University of Maryland last fall, he stood on the sideline for the Miami-Maryland football game. On the spot, he decided to play high school football for the first time, even though Hylton had played its first football game a few days earlier.
“As soon as I saw all the fans and stuff, I just wanted to play,” said the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Scrubb, who ended up starting on a Hylton team that finished 11-1. “It just felt so right, I guess. I wasn’t used to that many fans at baseball.”
Baseball remains Scrubb’s primary sport, and Friday night the third baseman-pitcher, who has a scholarship offer from Virginia Tech, showed why. As the No. 2 pitcher to junior Alec Bettinger, a Virginia commit, Scrubb retired the last 11 batters in order, allowed four hits (all in the third), struck out seven, walked two and hit two batters.
“His breaking ball was amazing from center field,” said sophomore center fielder Brady Zinda, who had two hits for Hylton.
“He’s answered the bell each time out,” Bulldogs Coach Craig Flesher said. “Command is an issue sometimes, but he’s really working on that.”
Scrubb also had two of his team’s 10 hits to continue a pleasing early part of the season for Hylton (6-1), which starts just one senior.
“We haven’t put it together, but if we can put it together, we can go far with this team,” said sophomore catcher Will Frazier, who along with senior Buddy Meredith delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth to extend a 2-1 lead. “We can all hit the ball and play defense.”
The Bulldogs turned two double plays and Scrubb got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth by inducing a strikeout and a 6-4-3 double play.
Meredith went 3 for 3 off Westfield senior left-hander Wade Arduini, who pitched 52 / 3 mostly strong innings, striking out seven. He also drove in his team’s lone run with a two-out single in the third, when a subsequent base-running error might have cost Westfield some runs.
“We played a lot better than that score indicates, and I thought Wade pitched much better than what that score indicates,” Westfield Coach Chuck Welch said. Hylton “did a great job putting the ball in play late in the game and all of a sudden a 2-1 game the whole game opens up for them.”
Westfield (3-2) leaves Sunday for a spring break tournament in South Carolina. Hylton has spring break games next week at Harrisonburg and Turner Ashby.
“We’re kind of a team that still trying to find ourselves, so something like this I think is going to be very, very good for us,” Welch said, “with the bonding part of it and the baseball part of it.”