Monmouth Academy shortstop Hayden Fletcher runs down a hard hit ground ball during the first inning against Mountain Valley High School on Wednesday. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

MONMOUTH — The baseball doesn’t have a trail of smoke when it leaves Trevor Flanagan’s right hand. But his ability to command the strike zone with his three-quarter arm angle and his confidence in his defense delivered a big win for Monmouth Academy on Wednesday.

Flanagan threw strikes and changed speeds effectively to get Mountain Valley hitters swinging, usually off their front foot, to toss a four-hit shutout in an efficient 67 pitches in the Mustangs’ 5-0 victory at Chick Field.

“I felt like I had good command,” Flanagan said. “It helps a lot knowing you have a good defense behind you because all you need to do is pound the strike zone because you know they’re going to make the plays behind you.”

Cam Armstrong of Monmouth Academy attempts to steal second base as Mountain Valley second baseman Will Sorensen fields the throw from home plate in Monmouth on Wednesday. Armstrong was called out on the play. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

“It’s a big win, especially coming off of two losses,” added Flanagan, whose team had lost to Lisbon and Hall-Dale the previous two games. “It starts the second half of our season in the right direction.”

Hayden Fletcher led Monmouth with two hits, including an RBI double, and a run scored. No. 9 hitter Thomas Neal reached base three times (single, two walks) and scored two runs.

Mountain Valley (7-3) has scored in double figures in all seven of its wins but dropped its second in a row, starting with Monday’s 5-2 loss to Hall-Dale. The Falcons left five base runners on against Flanagan, who scattered four singles, worked around a pair of errors and didn’t walk or hit a single batter while striking out two.


“You don’t see his delivery very often,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said. “He delivers it three-quarter, almost full sidearm, and there’s a lot of movement that goes with it. The big thing is he throws strikes.”

Monmouth (6-3) made Mountain Valley starter Garrett Garbarini pay for wildness in the third and fourth after letting him off the hook in the second. The hard-throwing right-hander escaped the initial threat by striking out the side after back-to-back walks to start the frame, but a leadoff walk to Neal in the third and two-out walk to Kane Gould in the fourth came back to haunt him.

Fletcher turned Neal’s leadoff walk in the third into a first-and-third jam with a single to right. After a strikeout, Corey Armstrong dropped down an excellent squeeze bunt to the first base side that Garbarini had no choice with but to throw out the batter at first while Neal scored from third to make it 1-0 Mustangs.

Monmouth Academy third baseman Cam Armstrong fields a ground ball during Wednesday’s game against Mountain Valley. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Gould got the Mustangs’ four-run fourth started with a two-out walk. After Gould stole second, Carlos Garcia beat out an infield hit deep in the hole to shortstop, whose throw across the diamond got away from the first baseman, allowing Gould to head home for a 2-0 lead.

Neal followed with a single that Fletcher followed with a double to right to score Garcia. Cam Armstrong knocked Neal and Fletcher in with a single before getting thrown out trying to stretch into a double to make it 5-0.

“The key offensively was just hitting it on the ground, staying back and driving the ball,” Flanagan said. “Put it in play and see what happens.”


Flanagan stranded runners at second and third in the first, retired nine of the next 10 Falcons, then wiggled out of trouble after giving up a pair of singles to start the fifth by getting the next three outs via fielder’s choice. Mountain Valley protested after the final two outs, both of which came at second base, saying the base runner beat the throw from short to second on the second out and arguing that the second baseman didn’t secure the throw from short on the third out.

Flanagan had little trouble over the final two innings, allowing only an infield single. His defense helped assure that with two fine plays in the sixth, a running catch in right field by Garcia and nice plays on both ends of a 5-3 ground out by third baseman Cam Armstrong and first baseman Spencer Richardson.

“He kept them swinging off their front foot and pounding the ball into the ground,” Palleschi said. “We pitch to contact, and today our defense did a good job, made all of the plays. Cameron, I thought, did an excellent job at third.”

“The defense behind me strengthened as the game went on,” Flanagan said. “They give me energy and I can keep going off of them.”

A lot of chatter came from the Monmouth Academy dugout during Wednesday’s game against Mountain Valley High School. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

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