By Hunter Nusz

Jeremy Vest pitched a complete game shutout in Sussex Tech’s 7-0 win over rival Sussex Central last Thursday. The Ravens came into the game ranked number two in the state and the Knights came in ranked number one. 

As if the rivalry needed any fuel, a 1 vs 2 matchup certainly did the job. The second ranked Sussex Tech Ravens traveled across town and defeated number one ranked Sussex Central. 

Kade Hall was called safe at the plate, beating out the tag at home to extend the Ravens’ lead. Photo by Hunter Nusz

“Breathing, and talking to yourself keeping a calm mindset, you’re up there for a reason and you have a job to do and you have to go up there and complete the job,” said Vest, talking about how he stayed calm in this high intensity game. 

Vest talked about what worked for him throughout the night, “My sinker was definitely working, that seemed to be my go-to, and then my slider was working really well. It was really easy to go from sinker to slider because it confused the hitters a decent amount.”

For the first four innings, the game was a pitcher’s duel. Osiah Kelley was on the bump for the Knights and despite giving up a walk in the first inning, Kelley was running through the lineup. For the Ravens, Vest was also dealing; he pitched his way out of a runner on the corners in the bottom of the first and after that Vest continued to dominate. 

Kelley kept the Ravens hitless through four innings while the Knights were able to get hits but were unable to capitalize. Peter Onuschak went 2-for-2 for the Knights but was picked off at first base in the second inning and thrown out at third in the fifth. 

Kobe Tindley drew a walk to start out the fifth inning, giving the Ravens their first base runner since the first inning. Then Kade Hall got the Ravens’ first hit of the night and the Ravens’ offense woke up. Kameron Tindley knocked in two runs with an RBI single with the bases loaded and no outs. Brock O’Day scored on a passed ball and Zane Adams hit a sacrifice fly to give the Ravens a 4-0 advantage. 

The Ravens added on more runs in the sixth inning, Kobe Tindley hit a ground rule double that drove in a run and Braydon Hazzard hit an RBI single that drove in two more, and the Ravens went into the final inning with a 7-0 lead. 

Vest struck out the last batter in the bottom of the seventh, a fitting ending for a dominant performance. 

Ravens head coach G.L. Jefferson talked about how his team prepared for this matchup, “I feel like when we played these guys in the past it’s been a mind battle, more so than a pitching and hitting kind of battle. So really it was a mental approach coming into this game. Any time you are facing a rival, a true rival like Sussex Central, a lot of times it can get bigger than what it is. We know what kind of team we have but we don’t allow our guys to play uncharacteristically. So, a lot of the stuff we worked on this week was to try and prepare them mentally to be able to step in the box, handle the crowd, step on the mound, field a ground ball and just play well. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.”

With the big win, the Ravens will most likely be the new number one ranked team in the state. Coach Jefferson talked about how he plans to keep his team focused moving forward, “We have a term in our program called ‘find the middle’. You can never be too high in this game and you can never be too low. Any time you are too high you kind of rest back, you sit back and play uncharacteristically and the same thing if you are too low, so any time we experience a huge high we want to ride that thing, but we also want to get back to the middle. We explained to them from here on out there are going to be tournament teams up until the end of the season, so we are going to enjoy this one tonight but we are going to have a tough practice tomorrow and focus on the small things that we could’ve done a little bit better at like some of the at-bats but we are definitely going to enjoy this one tonight.”

The Ravens improved their record to 13-1 on the season and had another big game as they traveled north to face William Penn on Tuesday.