Gregg tosses two-hitter to lead Avon Grove to 7-0 shutout win05/09/2023 11:43AM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
In their 7-0 defeat to Avon Grove on May 8, the Downingtown West varsity baseball team was victimized by an action verb that is used to emphasize the act of being demonstrably disadvantaged.
They were outmanned.
In the latest stop of a season that has seen them rip through opponents on their way to a current 12-3 record in the Ches-Mont, head coach John Bellaver’s kiddie corps of mostly underclassmen tacked on one more win with the support of timely hitting and a stellar two-hit, eight-strikeout performance by lefty Brayden Gregg. The junior – and early West Virginia University baseball commit – held D-West hitless through the first three innings with a combination of off-speed pitches and fastballs, a performance that was highlighted by his striking out the side in the top of the third.
Avon Grove broke into the scoring column in the third with its first three runs against D-West starter Drew Turner that began on a double by Gregg to right center field. After Trevor Dosenbach reached on an error, Yoder Owen’s sacrifice bunt was bobbled, scoring Gregg and sending Dosenbach to third, who then scored on a wild pitch by Turner. One batter later, Joe O’Connor scored Yoder on a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Whippets mounted their only scoring threat in the fourth inning when Quinn Henicle singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one away, Dosenbach made a spectacular, over-the-shoulder grab of a Jay Slater fly ball to deep center field to save a certain D-West run.
The Red Devil’s offense lent further support to Gregg with two more runs in the fifth inning that gave the pitcher a 5-0 cushion. With two out, O’Connor was hit by a pitch, took second on a single by Caleb Strawhecker and reached third when Ken Askin was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, Jack Mills singled past the outstretched glove of first baseman Cooper Young to score O’Connor and Strawhecker.
Gregg continued his superb performance on the mound through the fifth and sixth innings, yielding no hits and striking out three while in the bottom of the sixth, he helped his cause with a lead-off single that ignited a two-run inning that sealed the victory.
Not lost in Gregg’s dominant pitching performance was that his control was nearly perfect, as he yielded only one walk through five and two-third innings.
“Last year, I had a lot of trouble with getting down in the counts, so I worked on with my pitching coach in the off-season to improve how I could get ahead of batters,” Gregg said. “If that means throwing a fastball down the middle then I throw a fastball down the middle, and if they hit it, they hit it. Getting ahead of the count has enabled me to take the pressure off of my back and allows me to make pitches whenever I want.”
Gregg spoke highly of the support he has received this season from his teammates.
“My teammates are really the best,” he said. “They provide the defense I need behind me, and as soon as I get back in the dugout, they’re giving me high fives. As long as we play like we did today where we hit the ball and play good defense and deliver strong pitching, we can go really far.”
The Red Devils will wrap up their regular season with home games this week against Oxford and Downingtown East on May 10 and 12, and travel to Coatesville on May 15.
Downingtown West (8-8 in the Ches-Mont) will conclude its regular season with a home game against Bishop Shanahan on May 12 and a visit to West Chester east on May 15.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].