Wow Factor’s Hahn tosses 6-inning gem in Blue Chip

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 1, 2023

Ethan Hahn of Wow Factor Northeast pitched a six-inning, one-hit shutout in the Blue Chip.

By Luis Torres

Things got off to an inauspicious start for Wow Factor Northeast starting pitcher Ethan Hahn.

The right-handed pitcher allowed a leadoff double to begin the game against Clubhouse 2024 Scout and then found himself facing runners on first and second with no outs. It looked as if Hahn was about to dig into an early hole, but one pitch made all the difference.

He got a double play on a swinging strikeout, and then catcher Aaron Gilden picked off a runner straying too far from first base as Hahn escaped the early jam.

That sequence seemed to settle down Hahn, and as he’s done for most of the summer, he shoved during the rest of his outing.

Hahn spun a complete-game shutout, allowing just one hit and striking out six as Wow Factor Northeast defeated Clubhouse Scout 2024, 8-0, in six innings in 17/18U Blue Chip Prospects play on Monday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

“I feel like it was kind of a relief,” Hahn said of the double play in the opening frame. “I think I got myself in a little bit of a hole. I didn’t come at the hitters right away off the jump, but I say it helped me settle down and focus on the rest of the game.”

Using a three-pitch mix — fastball, curveball and change-up — Hahn was able to get ahead of hitters and put them away when he needed to. His fastball hit 86 miles per hour, according to the radar gun at Diamond Nation, and he threw his curveball in any count, while occasionally mixing in his change-up.

The formula worked as he walked just two hitters and ended up retiring 16 of the last 17 hitters he faced, including the final 15 he went up against.

Aaron Gilden of Wow Factor Northeast went 3-for-4 with three RBI.

“Throw strikes,” Hahn said of his mentality this summer. “I think my command is one of my biggest things. My fastball; it’s there, but it’s nothing overpowering. But I’m able to spot all my pitches and throw them in any count, and I think that helps me out a lot.”

Wow Factor Northeast opened the scoring when leadoff hitter and center fielder Trevor Eastman scored on a Gilden fielder’s choice. Eastman was a menace on the base paths, scoring four runs while going 1-for-3 with a walk.

Gilden provided some of the heavy lifting for the lineup, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including an RBI double to left field in the bottom of the third inning. He ended the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning, triggering the eight-run rule.

“For (Gilden), it was big because he’s been good offensively this summer,” Wow Factor Northeast coach Cesar Gonzalez said. “Recently, he has struggled, but he’s young. He’s 16 years old. He’s a young 2024, and from a maturity standpoint, he’s stood with it. He’s had some really good at-bats. He hit the ball hard a couple of times right at people, and finally, it dropped for him today. He’s young, but he’s a tough kid.”

Shortstop Felix Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, and Nehemiah Toles went 1-for-2 with two walks.

Trevor Eastman of Wow Factor Northeast went 1-for-3 and scored four runs.

Danny Rogers had the lone hit for Clubhouse 2024 Scout, but Hahn’s performance stood out.

He became more efficient as the game went on, throwing just 38 pitches in his final four innings of work.

“This is what he’s been doing all summer,” Cesar Gonzalez said. “He’s a backwards pitcher, obviously, he’s 84-86 miles per hour and has topped out at 87. So we pitched a lot backwards with him, change-ups, curveballs and used the fastball sometimes. Once we established the offspeed, we came back with fastballs and stayed with fastballs because now they are off balance.

“His command is top-tier. It’s top-tier command. Down South against really, really good competition, he was really good. He’s come over here, and you saw what he did today.”

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