Barrett pitches gem in Sumrall's win over Greene county

By CAMAL PETRO,

SUMRALL – Senior Hunter Barrett was supposed to be primarily a bullpen arm for the Sumrall Bobcats this season. That’s at least what coach Larry Knight said a few weeks before the season started.

Barrett’s glove at third base was too important, according to Knight. Even though he had the talent and the experience to be a starter, Knight felt he had enough depth to allow Barrett to enter games late to shut it down. 

On Tuesday night against Greene County, Barrett got the start and turned in another terrific performance to lead the Bobcats to a 10-0, six-inning win over the Wildcats. The win moves Sumrall to 13-2 overall and 3-0 in region play.

“(Hunter) did a tremendous job,” Knight said. “Forty-seven pitches, gosh, I don’t know that I’ve ever had that. He’s a strike-thrower.”

Knight wanted Barrett to stay at third base, for the most part, this season, because he was so reliable at the hot corner. With sophomore Kros Sivley and senior Halen Sanford tabbed as the No. 1 and No. 2 starting pitchers, Barrett was going to be called upon to close out games.

Knight’s original concern was who would replace Barrett at third base, but junior Sully Clark has proven to be reliable.

“We feel like we have options now, whoever is throwing it best,” Knight said of his three pitchers.

So far this season, Barrett has a 0.69 earned run average in five appearances and 20.1 innings. He’s only allowed two earned runs and seven hits while striking out 23. In three starts this season, he’s only allowed one earned run and six hits, and he threw a no-hitter against St. Pius X Catholic (Georgia) earlier this month.

Barrett read The PineBeltSPORTS Magazine where Knight said he’d be used more out of the bullpen, too.

“It gave me a little something to work for,” Barrett said. “We have two more pitchers who are absolute studs on the mound, too, so I had to work to be good. We’ve talked about how I’ll be out there a little more. I got my first district start today, so that felt good.”

Since Sumrall has games Friday and Saturday, as well as Tuesday night this week, it gave Knight an opportunity to save Sivley and Sanford for the latter two games of the week.

The right-hander had the game in cruise control from the start. He started the game with a seven-pitch first inning, then needed just 11 pitches in the second inning. In the third, he threw just seven pitches, too, and followed that up with an eight-pitch fourth.

All of this was happening as the Bobcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

In the fifth, however, he gave up his first hit of the game, but he still only had to throw 13 pitches to end the frame.

“It was a hanging changeup that I didn’t get down in the zone,” Barrett said of his only mistake of the game.

His most efficient inning, though, came in the sixth inning. Before he trotted back out to the mound, and while Sumrall was scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 9-0 advantage, Barrett had to keep loose in the Sumrall bullpen.

He came back out in the sixth inning and threw just three pitches.

“You only get five pitches (to warm up with before an inning), and it’s cold out here,” Barrett said. “My velocity dropped a little bit because I wasn’t getting loose, but it came back up in the sixth.”

Barrett finished his six innings with only 47 pitches thrown, and 37 of them were for strikes. He struck out four, too, and walked none. It was easily the most effective outing of his pitching career.

“Best one, I’d say,” he said. “No doubt.”

His fastball was staying low in the zone, and his breaking ball kept hitters off-balanced throughout the night. Barrett admitted he was leaving his breaking ball up at the beginning of the game, but he got it going as the game progressed. 

To top it all off, Barrett had the game-ending RBI single to run-rule Greene County in the sixth inning.

“Just was one of those nights you don’t want to end,” Barrett said.

Dannis Jackson, Graham Crawford and Tanner Morgan all tallied two hits each, while Jackson and Crawford recorded two RBI, respectively. Mason Story had a two-RBI night as well, and nine Sumrall batters recorded hits in the 12-hit night for the offense. 

Sumrall will travel to Greene County Friday for a 6:30 p.m. contest. The Wildcats are expected to throw their ace pitcher, junior Drake Henderson, who has 43 strikeouts and a 1.33 ERA in 26.1 innings of work.