Yoder’s 1-hitter leads Hawks to stunning district title win over Toronto

Yoder’s 1-hitter leads Hawks to stunning district title win over Toronto

Image Credit: Dave Mast

This one was supposed to be different for the Hiland Hawks.

This one was against the Toronto Red Knights, tournament nemesis, defeater of the East District No. 1 seed Shadyside, the team that combined with the Hawks have won 18 district titles since 2000.

After dismantling their prior three tournament foes by forcing the 10-run mercy rule, the Hawks faced a much more daunting task in squaring off with Toronto, a top Div. IV program in the state, a team that has given the Hawks plenty of tournament battles over the past two decades.

However, the Hawks got on top early, continued to build the lead throughout and got another tremendous pitching performance by rising star Isaak Yoder, and lo and behold, they earned a surprising 10-0 win over the Red Knights that few expected.

It all started with Yoder on the mound, where the sophomore followed up his initial tournament win of a five-inning no-hitter with an equally impressive five-inning one-hitter against a team that had pummeled Shadyside for nine runs one game earlier.

Ten pitches into the opening inning, Yoder had sped through the first three Toronto hitters. Red Knights starter Blake Close would not be so fortunate.

Close struggled with command issues immediately, walking the first three Hiland hitters he faced. Slugging first baseman Jeff Todaro made that hurt by slamming a single to right to score Grant Miller. Close would then record a strikeout, but Dakota Miller ended Close’s day on the mound by hammering a two-run single to center to make it 3-0. On came Nate Brownfield, who gained control of the situation and got out of the inning. He seemed to keep Hiland off-balance for a while, but Yoder was in dominant form on the hill for Hiland.

A walk and an error in the second inning gave Toronto hope, but Yoder quickly squashed that by recording a big strikeout to end the inning. The Hawks would go quietly in the second, and Yoder would give up his only hit of the game in the third, a single to center by Zebulin Kinsey.

The Hawks would then go to work on building their lead, which grew from one crushing blow. Nolan Yoder singled to start the third inning for Hiland, and Todaro atoned for his earlier error by destroying a Brownfield offering into the woods in right field for a two-run home run.

Alec Weaver reached on an error and came around to score on Isaak Yoder’s double to make it 6-0 through three innings.

Toronto went quickly in the fourth, and the Hawks came back in and tackled the task of creating a 10-run cushion that would eventually be enough to end the game in five innings.

Tony Yoder walked, and Grant Miller sacrificed him to second. Cody Yoder then thrashed a scorcher down the left-field line to plate Tony Yoder for a 7-0 lead. Nolan Yoder singled to put runners on the corners, and Todaro’s sacrifice fly made it 8-0. When Weaver doubled home a run and Dakota Miller produced a run-scoring single to center, Hiland had its 10-run advantage.

Yoder then put a giant exclamation on the win in the top of the fifth, using just 11 pitches to retire the Red Knights on three consecutive strikeouts to send the Hawks into regional play once again.

Yoder struck out six, walked a pair and allowed just the lone hit in five dominating innings on the mound. He got plenty of help at the dish, with Todaro driving in four runs including swatting a home run. Dakota Miller added two hits and drove in three while Nolan Yoder added two hits and scored three times. Cody Yoder added two runs and an RBI in the win.