Webb’s two-hit gem lifts Oxford over Hernando in game one

Published 10:21 pm Friday, May 6, 2022

OXFORD, MISS — “That’s what we were expecting, kind of a low-scoring pitching duel… I thought Dixon pitched it extremely well.”

Oxford head baseball coach Cade Hoggard summed things up perfectly after the Chargers’ 3-1 win on Friday over Hernando in game one of their North Half semifinal series, crediting his senior ace Dixon Webb for mowing through the Tigers’ lineup and putting Oxford ahead in the best-of-three series.

Webb, who is now 10-1 in 12 appearances this season, gave up an unearned run in the second inning on a throwing error by shortstop Ty Wicker that allowed Hernando’s Luke Romine to score from third before settling in and retiring 11 out of the next 13 batters he faced en route to a six-inning, two-hit performance that helped the Chargers move ahead in the series.

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“His pitch count was low, he had all three pitches going… that’s Dixon. He pitches quick, he throws a lot of strikes, he misses barrels, he’s been the guy for us all season long,” said Hoggard.

Webb relentlessly pounded the strike zone all night, throwing just 73 pitches and keeping himself eligible to throw in game three on

“He’s toed the rubber every first game of the week. We expect big things out of him and we usually get them. I’m extremely proud of him tonight to have a game like that at home in the third round—I thought he was great,” Hoggard said.

The Chargers fell behind on the run-scoring error in the top of the second, but responded with three of their own in the bottom of the inning to go up 3-1 in the early goings.

Webb started the inning off with a leadoff walk before courtesy runner Jack Gaia swiped second and then reached third on a wild pitch. After a pop-up, a walk to designated hitter Jack Harper and a strikeout from second baseman Aidan Goulding, left fielder Hayden Campbell stepped to the dish with two runners on and two outs.

The junior outfielder, who played sparingly early in the season before being thrust into the lineup after centerfielder Cashe Shows went down with a season-ending injury in March, fell behind 1-2 before roping a two-out double down the line in right that scored both runners.

“It’s awesome to be out there with these guys and be able to be in that situation and get that hit,” Campbell said. “I was down two strikes—just knew I had to hit the ball and put in play—and that’s what I did thankfully.”

“That’s a big momentum blow when your nine-hole hitter comes up with two outs, gets two strikes and he’s able to produce like that,” Hoggard said. “He had some opportunities early in the season and then when Cashe went down he was able to fill that role and he’s been a spark-plug down there.”

Campbell reached third on a wild pitch in the next at-bat before the home plate umpire called a balk, allowing him to cross the plate safely without a play.

The two-run lead proved to be enough, as Webb cruised through the Tigers’ lineup two more times before handing the ball over to Wicker in the seventh.

The Chargers’ closer worked quickly in the final frame, striking out Hernando’s Garrick Smith on three pitches before forcing back-to-back flyouts to end the game.

Oxford improves to 22-8 with the victory, and is now just one win away from reaching the North Half championship series for the first time since 2018. The Chargers will travel to Hernando for game two of the series at 7 p.m. on Saturday before returning home for game three at 7 p.m. on Monday if necessary.