Mustangs win pitchers’ duel over Wildcats
LC scored go-ahead run in 5th inning; Bricen Hess K’s 14 in win
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 10:33 PM
MOWRYSTOWN — The Southern Hills Athletic Conference game Wednesday between the Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs and the Whiteoak Wildcats took less than two hours and in the process gave the fans in attendance a pitchers’ duel to remember.
Lynchburg-Clay starting pitcher Bricen Hess collected 14 strikeouts in the Mustangs' win at Whiteoak Wednesday night. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
This wasn’t a normal pitchers’ duel from the start, as the Mustangs were the home team at the Whiteoak home field duel to wet field conditions at LC.
From there, pitchers Bricen Hess of LC and Evan Brill of WHS had varying pitching styles on the mound. A couple common factors were both teams had strong defense behind them for the most part, and both pitchers made things tough on their opponent, with the Mustangs winning, 2-1 over the Wildcats.
Hess and Brill each had excellent days on the mound for their respective teams. Hess was the winning pitcher for the Mustangs. He pitched a complete seven-inning game where he allowed one run (earned) on two hits, three walks and one hit batter. Hess didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning with two outs and was perfect through the first three innings. Hess also collected 14 strikeouts in the win.
“This was a definitely a pitchers’ duel,” LC head coach Vince Pitzer said. “Our pitcher Bricen Hess was on point, and their pitcher (Evan) Brill was tough too. Good pitchers make you put the ball on the ground, and that is what he did to us, and then they made plays.
“At the beginning of the year, I said [Hess] was slowly coming around, and he has. Against North Adams last week he had 12 strikeouts, and he had quite a few tonight, plus ended the game on a strikeout.”
In the loss, Brill pitched six innings, allowing two runs (both unearned) on four hits, one hit batter and one walk. Brill finished with two strikeouts. The WHS starter didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning with two outs. He finished his six innings with just 62 pitches.
“Evan Brill with just 62 pitches … that’s unbelievable, and hats off to the Hess kid too, he threw very well and was every bit as dominating as Evan,” WHS head coach Chris Veidt said. “We aren’t going to face a better team or pitcher like that … this was like a tournament atmosphere, and that is only going to help us in the long run, and we were just one hit away.”
The main difference was the Mustangs were able to gain the big hit when they needed it the most, and the Wildcats didn’t have the magical hit they needed late in the game with runners in scoring position.
The game was tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the fifth inning … that was until Kyle Luneke (1-for-1, HBP) reached the bases on a one-out double, then took third on a sacrifice. From there, with two outs, Caden Hess had an infield base hit, scoring Luneke with Hess beating the throw to first base for what scored the game-winning run.
“We had timely hits and a sacrifice, and that’s what I keep telling the boys over and over … to play small ball, to do the little things right and that will win games,” Pitzer said.
Also with a hit in the fifth for LC was PJ Fiscus (1-for-2).
WHS had their chances in the top of the sixth when they had a runner in scoring position as Brandon Lowe singled to centerfield with two outs and eventually made it to second base, where he was left stranded.
In the seventh, WHS began the inning with Casey Nace reaching first base after being hit by a pitch. From there, WHS recorded two outs, then reached base on a seven-pitch walk (on a 3-2 count) by Ryan Roberts, though the Wildcats were unable to score either runner with the game ending on a called third strike.
“This was a good high school baseball game, and we had our chance there at the end,” Veidt said. “We had one of our top hitters at the plate and a man in scoring position, played good defense and that is all you can ask for.
“Ryan Roberts had a great two-strike at-bat with two outs and played great defense at shortstop today, and for a sophomore, that is really saying something. We just needed another bat today.”
Both Highland County rivals scored their first run of the game in the fourth inning, with the Wildcats scoring in the top of the fourth. The inning was led off with a walk by Traeten Hamilton, as he then stole second and third bases. He scored on a two-out double by Lowe (2-for-3, one steal, one RBI) to give WHS a 1-0 lead.
“Brandon stroked the ball well with two hits,” Veidt said. “He was right on it. We are fine, and we are better and are going to continue to get better. This game was a good experience for us, but obviously we’d like to have a different outcome on the scoreboard. It just didn’t work out today.”
The Mustangs answered in their half of the fourth with Caden Hess leading off the inning by taking first on an error. From there, he advanced around the bases, then scored on a two-out double by Forrest Elam for the 1-1 tied score.
“I told them at the beginning of the year, as long as they work hard and do the little things right, we’ll win ball games in this league, and we’ve proved that as we are 4-1,” Pitzer said. “We have another tough game on Thursday against Eastern Brown. We just have to do the small things right.
“I’m just proud of these boys. They work hard, and even though we are young, they are coming around and I expect more good things from this this year.”