Sophomore pitcher Henry Hubner stepped to the mound last Saturday at Wooster School and delivered a performance to remember.
The right-hander was at the peak of his powers, striking out 10 batters while relinquishing just one hit in a dominant complete-game 3-0 shutout win.
"The key to a strong performance is always having the confidence in your mechanics and preparation," Hubner said. "On the mound, all you have to think about is getting the batter out."
Hubner proved quite adept at that.
He befuddled Wooster batters with a nasty changeup, recording five of his 10 strikeouts thanks to the pitch.
Coach Neil Jaggernauth pointed toward Hubner's consistency and control as key factors in the outcome.
Jaggernauth, who noted Hubner only walked two batters, said that “He stayed in the zone and gave his stuff a chance to play. He has swing-and-miss stuff that allows him to pitch in the heart of the zone and still generate swings and misses, as was evidenced by his 10 strikeouts. Additionally, as any good pitcher does, he let his defense help him out. It was a true team effort in that it was one of those rare games where every single player on the field, all nine of them, had to make at least one play."
It marked the first career win for Hubner and the first of the season for Masters' varsity baseball squad, which has shown tremendous mental toughness by battling game in and game out.
"We have been working so hard all year and to finally get to see that work rewarded with a result really lifted a huge weight off of our backs," said Jaggernauth, who was effusive in his praise of the team's character and camaraderie. "It is a great group of kids who have kept on working hard and coming in with a positive attitude and striving to be better."
The Panthers' offense wasted no time getting on the board, grabbing an early 1-0 first-inning lead behind a Hubner RBI single that scored Tate Bridges ’22. Masters tacked on two more runs in the third inning to cap the scoring. Ethan Rosenberg ’22 started the two-run rally with a leadoff double. Aidan McLaren ’22 drove him home with an RBI single. McLaren then stole second base, advanced to third via a Bridges single and finally scored on a passed ball.
The stellar performance could foreshadow what's to come for the Panthers, a young team that will return some key underclass pieces next season.
"I think we still will be young and still have some growing pains moving forward, but the foundation is there and there is definite potential for the future," Jaggernauth said. "I am truly excited to continue to build this program and help us realize some of that potential."