Blake Tekotte didn’t expect to see a left-handed pitcher for Iberia, but nothing bothered him once he stepped up to hit.
Behind Tekotte’s three hits, Hickman opened its season with a 6-1 win against Iberia on Friday at Hickman.
“We usually don’t see any left-handers in a season, or that many of them,” Tekotte said. “The key thing was just to stay back. The first time we had a little hard time picking it up but after that we started hitting line drives.”
Tekotte, a junior center fielder, went 3-for-3 with a single, double and triple.
Nathan Pritchett, Iberia’s left-handed pitcher, struck out seven and gave up nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“It’s probably the worst thing you can do in high school is the opening game and you have to face a left-hander with a good curveball,” Hickman coach Kent Fewell said.
Five of Hickman’s nine hits came in the sixth inning. After Pritchett struck out two batters in the fourth and fifth innings, Tekotte led off the sixth with a stand-up triple over Chad Luttrell’s head in center field.
“He was throwing a lot of fastballs,” Tekotte said. “I’ve been staying back on the fastball. He threw it and I swung.”
Eric Schultz drove in Tekotte with a single, and Joe Gabourg followed Schultz with a single to left. The ball got away from Jason Pemberton and the runners advanced. Justin Jackson drove them in with a double down the right field line to put Hickman up 5-1. Chad Hatcher’s single scored Jackson to cap the scoring.
“In the first couple innings we would have liked to show some more offensive power,” Fewell said. “We looked a little timid, a little nervous at the plate, which is going to happen your first time out.”
Tekotte’s single in the third drove in Andrew Mueller and Tyler Jones. After moving to second on the throw home and stealing third, Tekotte scored on Schultz’s ground ball to second base to give Hickman a 3-1 lead.
Senior Matt Schwartz was strong on the mound for Hickman, allowing three hits and striking out five in six innings.