Knoch senior tosses 4-inning no-hitter to secure first section win of season

Monday, April 12, 2021 | 7:57 PM

Knoch senior Brayden Hageter got more than enough run support Monday at Pullman Park as the Knights took on Section 1-4A opponent Burrell for the first time this season.

But, as it turned out, he needed only one.

Hageter was one walk away from throwing a four-inning perfect game and ended up throwing a no-hitter while striking out six in a 15-0 Knights victory.

“I just found my location, hit my spots and it all worked out,” Hageter said. “My fielders, obviously, made plays when (Burrell) hit it tonight, and I really had the slider biting hard. It was just a good game, an all-around win, a team win. We’re going to go back and get them tomorrow.”

The Knights (3-3, 1-2) set the Bucs (1-5, 0-3) down in order as only 12 batters stepped to the plate. Burrell’s Reese Kennedy reached base via walk in the third inning, but Knoch catcher Eli Sutton threw him out on an attempted steal of second base to end the inning.

Hageter struck out at least one in all four innings and tallied two strikeouts in the first and the second innings. The right-hander also was working with a quick tempo and waited only about 10 seconds between pitches. It got him into a rhythm and allowed him to block out any distractions.

“When I get into my own groove like that, I notice that it just keeps me in the game more, and I don’t get distracted by other things,” Hageter said. “It does mess with the batters, too, I’ve noticed over the past few years, so I’ve just stuck with it.”

While Hageter found his rhythm on the mound, the Knights found their rhythm at the plate midway through the game. Sutton scored the first run on a Zack McMillen RBI single in the first inning, and Isaac Roddy came around to score in the second inning on a Sutton single to left field.

The Knights blew the doors open in the third inning as they sent 12 batters to the plate, scored eight runs, and every batter but one crossed the plate. Roddy, McMillen, Sutton, and Gavin Phillips drove in runs to take a 10-0 lead and knock Burrell starter Adam Gimble out of the game.

“It’s great to see something like that, especially for those guys who have gotten off to a slow start,” Knoch coach Bradley Bestic said. “It’s good for them to have a day like today where they can take a deep breath, have some fun and get back on track to hit the way they know they can. It’s huge to have a game like this.”

Sutton and Gabriel Cornetti had two-run hits in the fourth inning, and Anthony Grafton knocked in Knoch’s fifth run of the inning to make it 15-0 and secure the win.

In their first section matchup last week, Knoch lost two one-run games to Highlands on back-to-back nights, so to get the first section win out of the way was a good feeling for Bestic and his crew.

“It was very important, and now we just want to compound and get as many as we can,” Bestic said. “More importantly, we want to be more sound fundamentally and all-around in the field, at the plate, everything, and we are on the right path.”

The two teams will be back at it again on Tuesday to finish their back-to-back games.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .

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