Hughes does job, but only for an inning



Ah, youth. For an inning, Ty Hughes looked like a world beater. Then, for part of an inning, the lefthanded pitcher looked to be what he was: A freshman making his first appearance in a Key West High Varsity uniform.

The Conchs won the game against Calusa Prep, 8-4, Friday night and the two teams will meet again tonight at 7:30 at Rex Weech Field.

Friday’s contest didn’t look like much for five innings, as Darren Miller hit a two-run homer in the first and pitcher Greg Veliz (5-0) mowed down the opposition, allowing but two hits, no walks and striking out eight.

So, why not give some youngsters a try? Coach Ralph Henriquez Jr. was saying just a few days previously that Hughes, who has been burning them up at the Junior Varsity level, would be needed as the team goes on a spring trip to Tennessee that could mean five games in three days and lots of pitching opportunities.

First, Henriquez sent sophomore Damon Taylor to the mound. It wasn’t his night, as he allowed a walk and two singles to load the bases with no outs. So, Henriquez went to his freshman, Hughes. All the lanky southpaw did was strike out the first two batters he faced and get the third to ground out to first.

A hero in the making? Not quite. In the seventh and final inning, Taylor gave up four hits to start the inning and Henriquez was walking to the mound again, this time to call in center fielder Stevie Wells, who is building quite a reputation as a closer. Wells had to get four outs, since one of his strikeouts got past catcher Chris Varela.

The game never seemed in doubt after the first inning when Wells walked, Veliz tripled, Hugo Valdes singled Veliz home and Miller homered (his second of the season). When the Conchs (now 12-2, matching their win total of a year ago) collected four more in the third, a “mercy” victory seemed very possible.  A leadoff single by Miller, a hit batsman by Brandon Presley, a single by Hunter Sellers, a single by Varela, a sacrifice fly by Jay Feathers, a single by Wells and a single by Perez added up to the four runs which got every hitter in the lineup mentioned. But, the Conchs would get only another single by Perez in the sixth.

Lefthanded junior Presley gets the pitching start for the Conchs tonight.

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