By PATRICK CASEY
Walton sophomore Brennon Orcutt tossed a complete game no-hitter on a windy Monday night to help the Braves to a 2-1 win over Freeport in a non-district contest played in DeFuniak Springs.
Orcutt struck out 12 batters on the night and allowed only four hitters to reach base with two of those getting gunned down trying to steal.
Walton put two runs on the scoreboard in their first at-bat and made them hold up in improving to 10-7 on the season. Brendan Leach provided the big blow by doubling in Angus Anderson and Brandon Hollingsworth with two outs.
Walton tallied only four hits in the game and had a pair of baserunners erased on steal attempts to quell the offense.
Michael Graziani pitched all six innings for the Bulldogs as he took the loss. The Bulldogs got their lone run in the top of the second inning as Brandon Head walked, advanced to second on a groundout and eventually scored on a throwing error after Austin Woodard struck out to cut the lead to 2-1. Freeport was not able to put a runner on base after the third inning of play.
Orcutt tossed approximately 103 pitches as he walked two batters and hit one. “The wind bothered me some early but I got into a groove around the fifth inning. I was able to keep the ball down and get a lot of ground ball outs.”
In fact, Orcutt did not allow a ball out of the infield with Alex Brack catching an Austin Woodard pop-up for the only fly ball out of the night for the Bulldogs.
Walton baseball coach Rick Dixon was pleased with Orcutt’s outing. “I tell other coaches all the time I am throwing my sophomore out there. We have a good staff and Brennon battled to overcome some mental errors on our part. I am not surprised. He has talent in locating his pitches and the confidence to throw them for strikes. He battled the hitters and we picked off a couple of runners that saved us some at-bats.”
Graziani struck out four batters while walking one. He also kept the ball down as the Braves hit the ball on the nose but at Freeport infielders for most of the night. The Bulldogs recorded only two outs via fly balls in the contest.
Freeport (7-7) saw Walton sweep the season series as the Braves won in Freeport 7-0 on Feb. 24.
Team Notes: Freeport’s Collin Myrick was hit by an Orcutt pitch in the elbow but the plate umpire ruled that he had leaned into the pitch and denied him first base. A few pitches later Orcutt plunked him in the leg as Myrick earned his way there with a pair of bruises. The wind was swirling and blowing hard enough to lift the caps off the players heads for most of the game. Outfielders for both sides were fortunate that most of the outs were either strikeouts or infield groundouts. Walton is 4-0 versus county rivals with one game left at South Walton on April 14.