Huffman dominant on mound as Hawks pull away for 8-0 win

Viera pitchers haven’t allowed a run in four games at home


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Viera junior right-hander Ethan Huffman allowed just two hits and struck out seven in six scoreless innings as the Hawks defeated visiting Tohopekaliga 8-0 Wednesday night.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

Talk about a home-field advantage.

After beating the Tohopekaliga Tigers 8-0 Wednesday night at the USSSA Space Coast Complex, the Viera High baseball team is working on quite a streak.

Not only are the Hawks 4-0 at home this season, but they’re pitching staff has now thrown 28 scoreless innings.

This time, it was junior Ethan Huffman who came up with the big outing. The right-hander, making his first start of the season, allowed just two hits while striking out seven over six innings.

“I felt really good (tonight),” Huffman said. “From the start, I felt like my fastball was getting in the zone, keeping it low. I had a little struggle with the curveball at first, but I started getting over toward the third or fourth inning.”

With Viera coming off a big 10-inning win at Rockledge earlier in the week, and with a big district road game against Heritage on the books for tonight, Huffman’s timing was pretty good, too.

“Huffman came up very big,” Viera coach Bob Doty said. “We needed that from him. He’s been wanting to pitch … He got some (innings) tonight. He got the Player of the Game Award tonight, and he earned it.”

Viera’s Brady Janssen went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Hawks (5-2). Alan Espinal had two hits, including a ground-rule double, and an RBI. Zach Taylor also had two hits. Andrew Brait had a hit and two RBIs. Luke Brown tripled in a run.

The Hawks took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth, then broke the game open with a five-run inning that allowed Doty to bring in Hunter Longtin to relieve Huffman and finish off the game.

While pitching has been a question mark for the Hawks this season, they have certainly gotten it done at home. Eric Allen has two of those wins, including one complete game shutout. Jake Moldrem has Viera’s other win at home.

In those four games, Viera has scored 19 runs.

“We play well here,” Doty said. “I liked how our hitters worked (tonight). We didn’t have a lot to show for it, but they stayed back, let the ball travel a little bit. We had some balls hit right on the nose, but (the Tigers) played well defensively.”

Viera will certainly be busy next week with games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – all at the USSSA Space Coast Complex. Wednesday’s game will be the big one, a Class 7A, District 6 matchup with Sebastian River.

Huffman is eager to take on a bigger role in the Hawks’ pitching plans.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I definitely want to be there for the team, keeping the runs as low as possible.”