FORT WALTON BEACH — Choctawhatchee starting pitcher Dustin Berrong threw four innings of no-hit ball and his offense connected for nine hits en route to a 9-4 win over Crestview on Thursday.
“We came ready to play tonight,” Indian coach L.C. Smith said. “We were hitting the ball with every pitch over the plate. That’s something we’ve been really working on real hard with the hitting is the approach at the plate.
“We were hitting every ball hard tonight. We had some leadoff walks early in the game and they responded real quick and that put (Crestview) in a hole early in the game.”
The approach the Indians (1-1, 1-0) seemed to be taking most of the night was as simple as see the ball, hit the ball.
Gaston Rackard drew a leadoff walk from Bulldog starter Davis Champion to open the game for the Indians. Rackard moved to second on a wild pitch and took third as Chase Whitehead was safe on a bunt.
Rackard scored when Taylor Fought grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Berrong stepped to the plate and proved he is more than just a good arm when he drove a double into left-center field to score Fought.
The Indians plated four more runs in the third inning on four hits as Choctaw stretched the lead to 6-0.
A Berrong triple off of Crestview reliever Justin Rebholz in the fourth inning scored Rackard and Fought as the Indians made it 8-0.
Hunter Willis broke up Berrong’s no-hitter with a leadoff single in the top of the fifth inning. Jimmy Croussore drew a walk from Berrong. With one out Dakota Dean drove a 2-0 Berrong pitch deep over the fence in right field for a three run homer.
The Indians picked up an unearned run in the fifth inning off of Trent Zellars to push the lead back to 9-3.
Garrison Blalock replaced Berrong on the mound for the Indians and worked the final two innings giving up one run in the seventh.
Berrong finished his night on the mound holding the Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1) to just two hits while striking out five batters.
Whitehead, Berrong and Zach Jowers each had three hits to lead the Indian attack. Rackard and Fought each scored three runs for Choctaw.
Dean topped the Bulldogs with two hits.
“You know runs are going to be at a premium when you are facing a guy as good as Dustin,” Crestview coach Tim Gillis said. “We got behind early and he kind of settled in there. We had some chances to kind of break the game open and get a hit and a run here or there, but he’d come up with a big pitch to get out of the jam and it was that way all night long.”
“I really didn’t like our fight from the whole get-go and we are going to get better at that.”