By Steve Ramirez
LAVERNE – Damien High School’s Grant Hockin began the season rated one of the top pitchers in the area.
He lived up to that billing Thursday.
Hockin tossed a four-hit shut out and struck out 11 to lead the host Spartans to a 4-0 victory over Charter Oak in a Sierra League game at Tom Carroll Field.
Damien, getting RBIs from David Cordova, Grant Woodward and Jordan Lofy, improved too 5-5 overall and 2-3 in league play. Charter Oak which beat preseason favorite South Hills last week, slipped to 3-5 and 2-3.
Damien took a 1-0 lead in the third after Kevin Macedo was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on a throwing error.
Damien took advantage of two more Charter Oak miscues to push the lead to 4-0 in the fourth.
Jordan Abernathy and Jonathan Olsen each reached on errors to begin the inning. They advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt before a Grant Woodward RBI single made it 2-0 lead.
Jordan Lofy followed with a sacrifice fly and Cordova was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 4-0.
Hockin then finished it off, retiring 10 of the final 12 batters to win it.
Damien coach Al Leyva: “There’s a reason why he is so highly touted. It’s because he’s a good pitcher, and he’s starting to show it. He’s starting to really dial it in. It seems he gets better as the game gets going. If he stays healthy, a lot of good things are going to go his way.”
Damien’s Grant Hockin: “I just tried to stay focused. I gave up that double (in the first), and I got a little frustrated, But I tried to stay within myself. There was a lot of game left and it worked out.”
Charter Oak coach Tom Quinley: “We gave them the game. That’s a good team over there. I thought Nick, for his first game this year, was outstanding. He should have gone all seven probably, but not with the errors.”
Today’s Baseball schedule/scores
Damien 4, Charter Oak 0
South Hills 5, Chino Hills 2
Claremont 6, Ayala 4
Valle Vista League
Baldwin Park 5, San Dimas 2
Covina 7, Wilson 4
Pomona at Northview, 3:15 p.m.
Duarte at Azusa, 3:15 p.m.
Bassett 19, Workman 2
La Puente 4, Ganesha 1
Bishop Amat vs. St. Francis at Brookside Park, 3:15 p.m.