Throwing first-pitch strikes is one of the most important things a pitcher can do.
Geneva junior Garrett Davis (1-0) consistently worked ahead of the hitters throughout a solid 6-inning start and helped his own cause with a pair of base hits and an RBI during the Vikings' 6-0 nonconference baseball triumph over Hinsdale Central (2-3) Wednesday morning at Lee Pfund Field in Carol Stream.
The left-hander walked 1, struck out 4 and worked ahead of 24 of the 26 batters he faced during an efficient 2014 mound debut.
"The first I complimented him on was he was throwing first-pitch strikes," said Vikings coach Matt Hahn. "They only had the leadoff hitter on once out of the six innings he pitched. That makes it so much easier for your defense and for your pitcher."
Davis battled his way out of a couple jams before giving way to junior reliever Bret Reed who worked a scoreless seventh.
In the third, the Red Devils loaded the bases with 2 out before Davis induced a comebacker to the mound to end the threat.
Hinsdale Central's Matt Muellner and Jacob White led off the sixth with back-to-back singles and Matt Bruns advanced the runners to second and third with a groundout to the right side.
However, Davis retired the next 2 batters on fly balls to junior right fielder Alex Lobrillo to preserve the shutout.
"This is a good team," Davis said of Hinsdale Central. "It's important to get ahead so you can work the way you want to work. When you've got a good defense behind you, it's easy to pitch."
Geneva (2-0), which staged a 3-run, seventh-inning rally to beat Oswego East in Tuesday's season opener, grabbed a 2-0 lead over the Red Devils thanks to a 2-run, 2-out single off the bat of Ben Chally -- the lone senior starter in the Vikings' lineup.
The base hit came 2 pitches after a botched suicide squeeze bunt attempt resulted in a runner tagged out at the plate.
"It was my fault," said Hahn. "Knowing that guy (Dan Teska) was throwing balls in the dirt, it probably was not the best call in that situation. Ben comes through and we get two runs anyway. That's what you expect out of your senior leaders.
"Once we got those two runs, I think everybody kind of calmed down and we seemed to execute a lot better."
Davis, batting out of the 9 hole, delivered a 2-out RBI single in the fourth to extend the lead to 3-0.
"I don't care where I'm going to hit as long as I can help the team some way," said Davis, who also went 2-for-3 against Oswego East.
"He kind of has that leadoff hitter mentality," said Hahn. "I've always tried to get a guy like that in the nine spot that has that mentality."
Sophomore shortstop Nick Derr helped the Vikings manufacture another insurance tally in the fifth as he singled, stole second and third and scored on a throwing error. Geneva added a pair of unearned runs in the sixth.
The Red Devils stranded 9 runners while being blanked for the second consecutive day.
"We've had a couple of opportunities the last few games but we just haven't been able to come up with the big two-out hit," said Hinsdale Central coach Jason Ziemer. "I thought we put the ball in play as we did yesterday. Eventually they'll fall in."