Some early runs crossed home plate, but there wasn’t much contact late in the first Civil War baseball game of 2019.
R.A. Long’s finisher, Westin Scheurich, closed the door with a perfect 13-pitch inning, where he struck out all three hitters he faced in the Lumberjacks’ 11-5 win Friday. Mark Morris’ Peyton Williamson also had a good outing, working his breaking pitches in for two strikeouts over 1-⅔ innings.
“He’s got a closer mentality and we like to put him out there with a game on the line,” MM coach Greg Bussell said. “So as you get in a close game, late innings, the plan was for it to be a lot closer by the time we got to him. But he’s a guy we can count on, pressure situation with baserunners or no baserunners, zero or one run game, we’re comfortable going to Peyton.”
Both teams have solid pitching depth, and R.A. Long’s is particularly helpful given how young the roster is.
Scheurich, Elias Farland, Kevin Barnett and Tanner Allen are all juniors, and compose the Jacks’ pitching staff. There are likely to be other arms used during heavy weeks. Catcher Jacob Childers and infielder Ian Johnson are the lone seniors, one season after graduating eight in 2018.
“They’re going to come along,” RAL pitching coach Dave Gomez said. “We’re early in the season and they’re just going to get better and better as we get going.”
The Jacks have four games next week, and will need all their depth to emerge successful. Friday’s appearances were nice to see in anticipation of such a challenging week.
“I’m impressed pitching-wise that Kevin Barnett came in and pitched well,” Gomez said. “And Westin, he comes in and always throws well for us. He’s a real bulldog on the hill. Elias, he might struggle early but once he gets the flow going he does a good job. Once they get more into it, those are some of the better pitchers in the league once they get going.”
How much confidence does it give head coach Mark Hulings?
“Huge,” Hulings said. “As a team, our philosophy is to win each pitch, each inning. We’re trying to break things down into manageable pieces. Yes, we’re young, but we’re learning the game as we go. We stub our toe, but if we can recover well, that’s our goal. As far as confidence, going 3-1 in our league and pitching three guys, that’s a good confidence booster for us.”
Both teams are nearing the midway point in league play — RAL is 3-1 and MM is 1-3 — and so far, they have what they need on the mound.