By Brad Morris
Matt Farmer didn’t feel he was at his best on Friday when he toed the rubber for a Mid-State League Buckeye Division game against host Hamilton Township.
The Rangers would beg to differ.
Farmer threw his first career no-hitter in leading the Vikings to a 10-0 win in six innings.
“Honestly, I didn’t feel that I was at my best tonight, but I didn’t have to be because I have an unbelievable defense behind me,” Farmer said. “They really make all of the plays, and they are so trustworthy behind me. It’s a great feeling to have as a pitcher.”
Farmer also credited his catcher, Landen McFarland, for his performance.
“My catcher, Landen McFarland, he’s great,” he said. “Landen has been my catcher since we were nine and he is a wall behind the plate. Our relationship is good enough that he knows exactly what I do wrong if I throw a pitch and it doesn’t work right and he always knows how to keep my head right.”
Farmer threw 68 pitches in the outing, 45 for strikes, and struck out four batters.
Noah Ebright was the only batter who reached base for Hamilton Township when he drew a walk in the third inning.
“The defense was great tonight and so was assistant coach Chris Wooten calling pitches,” Farmer said. “He really kept the hitters off-balance.”
Teays Valley coach Mark Colburn credited Farmer’s ability in consistently attacking the strike zone for his success against the Rangers and overall on the season.
“Matt did tonight what he has done so well all season, which is to pitch to contact, mix his pitches and move the ball around the plate,” he said. “It’s hard to get a beat on Matt as a batter, because of the way he works with Landen behind the plate and Chris Wooten, who calls our games.”
Farmer has been a dominant hammer as the ace of the pitching staff.
The senior right-hander tossed his sixth complete game of the season to improve to 6-1 on with a microscopic 0.157 ERA. In 44.2 innings, Farmer has yielded just 21 hits and an earned run. He has issued four free passes, hit a batter and struck out 50.
“People look at all of those innings that Matt has thrown and they think he must be throwing a ton of pitches, but he’s averaged between 80-to-85 pitchers per start,” Colburn said. “He’s a luxury to have leading our staff, because he is a humble guy who credits everyone else, and he is very efficient with his pitches and attacking the strike zone.
“Outside of the sixth inning against Bloom-Carroll earlier this week, our defense has done the job behind Matt and fielded virtually everything.”
The Vikings backed their ace with two runs before he threw a pitch against the Rangers.
Hayden Wells reached on a two-out error and advanced to second when Landon Vandegrift singled to left.
Ivan Smith then lined a 1-0 offering to left that brought in both runners.
Teays Valley added to its advantage with a four-run third.
Jeremiah Fabbro led off the inning by lining a single to right and was joined on the base pads when Hamilton drew a walk and Wells reached on a bunt single.
“We made a change to our lineup, moving Jeremiah to leadoff and putting Hayden in the three-hole,” Colburn revealed. “With the wind blowing in, we did a nice job of putting down bunts and executing, and Ivan Smith and Landen McFarland hit a couple of nice balls into the gap that were big hits.”
Fabbro scored on an error by the first baseman that allowed Hamilton to advance to third.
Back-to-back singles to left by Vandegrift and Smith drove in Hamilton and Wells to put the Vikings ahead 5-0.
Following a pair of outs and McFarland reaching on an infield single to third, Vandegrift scored when Wesley Henderson reached on a error.
Teays Valley tacked on two more runs apiece in the fifth and sixth to complete the run-rule win.
Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI and McFarland also posted a 3-for-4 evening and drove in a pair of runs. Wells was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Vandegrift contributed a 2-for-4 evening with an RBI and three runs scored.
The Vikings (11-5, 8-3) continue league play on Monday at Circleville.