WEST POINT — New Hope senior Andrew Chism knows one error can change it all.
In Tuesday’s home game against West Point, a miscue on a pickoff play nearly cost the Trojans a victory in their region opener before they broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth inning and went on to win.
Friday, in the return game on the Green Wave’s home field, Chism and New Hope got to reap the reward of a crucial miscue.
With two out in the second inning and the bases full of Trojans, New Hope leadoff man Richard Guy skied the ball into shallow center field. West Point’s Jordan Fitzpatrick settled underneath the high-arcing pop-up just in time, but it evaded his glove and fell to the outfield grass below. Three runs scored, and the Trojans added two more before the frame was over.
“We should have gone into the third inning down 1-0, honestly, and it was 6-0,” West Point coach Blake Hutchison said.
Behind its two-out rally and Chism’s strong performance on the mound, New Hope (6-6) used the error to its advantage in an 11-1 win over West Point (2-9) on the run rule in six innings Friday. The Trojans improved to 2-0 in district play, while the Green Wave fell to 0-2.
“It feels great,” Chism said. “We’ve just got to keep grinding and keep getting better.”
He struck out three in a complete-game performance, allowing a lone run on a third-inning error. New Hope coach Lee Boyd said Chism was effective in finding the plate and limiting walks.
“He doesn’t have great velocity, but he throws three pitches for strikes,” Boyd said. “He can locate his fastball, his curveball and his change-up anytime in the count, which makes him effective. Against him, you just really have no idea what he’s getting ready to throw.”
Chism also credited his defense for making key plays behind him all evening. In the third, West Point’s Jaylen Davis drove in Reed White and got all the way to third on a ball that ate up New Hope shortstop Zac Butler. But the Trojans’ Gates Gerhart snagged a Fitzpatrick fly in medium-depth center field and fired home to catcher Hunter Carr, who tagged out Davis for a big double play.
It wasn’t the only twin killing turned by the Trojans on Friday night. New Hope pulled off a 5-4-3 double play after West Point’s Noah Essary led off the fourth with a bloop single, promptly ending the threat.
“My teammates bailed me out quite a few times,” Chism said.
Their assistance in the field went along with their selflessness at the dish. New Hope batters were plunked seven times by West Point pitchers Cole Ellis and Ben Harrell, including in three straight plate appearances after the bases-clearing error in the second. Boyd and his staff updated their running total: The Trojans have now been hit by 29 pitches in just 12 games.
“Our guys have done a good job of holding their ground in the box,” Boyd said.
The same held true with two out, as nine of New Hope’s 11 runs came with West Point a single pitch away from getting out of the inning. With that in mind, Hutchison said he knows Friday’s game was closer than it seemed, but he still wanted more from the Green Wave at the plate.
“At the end of the day, you get one run on four hits. We’ve got to do better offensively,” Hutchison said. “When we get in a hole like that, we’ve got to fight our way out of it.”
West Point will look to improve in that area next week against Grenada, hosting the Chargers on Tuesday and traveling west Friday. New Hope, meanwhile, heads into next week’s series against Columbus with the 2-0 start in district play Boyd called a “confidence builder.”
“Even when people count us out, we always find a way to battle back,” Chism said.