The McIntosh Chiefs battled through rain-soaked conditions to score a key road region win Monday night, holding off the Starr’s Mill Panthers, 3-2.
The Chiefs struck in the first inning for one run. After Daniel Blair led off with a hit, Jack Hartman reached when the Panthers tried to throw out courtesy runner Max Geiger at third. Geiger was called safe, and he would score on a Garrett Stewart sacrifice.
Starr’s Mill responded in the bottom half, Kyle Evert smoking a leadoff double. Evert moved over on a Tyler Jeffares sacrifice bunt, then scored on a Matt Mullins RBI knock to tie the game at 1-1.
McIntosh pieced together two runs in the second, starting the frame off with a Van Neeley single. Jacob Cole would drive him in, then steal a base to get himself into scoring position. Christophe Senghor legged out an infield single, then moved up as Cole would be called out at third on a close play. Drew Plant stroked an RBI single to plate Senghor for a 3-1 lead.
Starr’s Mill catcher Joe Gruszka had a stellar night behind the plate, picking off Plant at first to end the inning and throwing out two would-be base stealers.
Cole Evans led off the bottom of the second by drawing a walk and moving up on a balk. Tyler Courtney moved him to third with a sacrifice, then Garrett Houston would reach on a run-scoring error that scored Evans to make it 3-2.
Both pitching staffs settled in after the rough start, allowing zero runs after the second inning.
Daniel Blair got the win for the Chiefs, throwing 5 innings, striking out 3, walking 2, and allowing 2 runs and just 4 hits. Hudson MacNellis came out of the pen and threw two scoreless, hitless innings for the save.
Jake Arnold drew the start for Starr’s Mill, taking the loss while lasting into the fifth inning and allowing 3 runs. Will Evans came on in relief, pitching the final 3 innings.
Starr’s Mill came closest to tying the game up in the fifth inning. Will Evans reached on an error to start the inning as the rain started falling harder. His courtesy runner, Allen Shad, would be standing on third base with two outs. A chopper down the third base line was be called fair, and Shad raced home for a big collision at the plate. The umpire ruled he hit the catcher in the head, calling him out, and ejecting him from the game.
The rain kept coming, getting worse in the bottom of the seventh. A delay in the middle of the frame to apply fresh dirt was followed by MacNellis recording the final out in the Chief win.
The downpour would also force the postponement of the planned second half of the doubleheader, with sights set on playing game two Tuesday night instead if weather allows.
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