Pitching continued to be the overarching theme in the three-game series between McIntosh and Starr’s Mill.
On Thursday night, fans were treated to another veteran pitching matchup between to experienced upperclassmen. The Chiefs sent senior Connor Koscevic to the mound to duel against Panthers senior Nathan Price.
Both pitchers didn’t disappoint as they matched each other all night. Price was sharp early as he retired 10 of the first 13 batters to face him. Koscevic was just as good as he posted a career-best performance.
Each pitcher had the opposing lineup frustrated with the lack of inactivity. They were both outstanding as the game came down to sixth inning once again. This time, it was Koscevic and McIntosh that prevailed via a Dane Kinamon RBI single to win 1-0.
“I told them that I was very proud of the effort,” McIntosh head coach David Munoz said. “We just have to go out and give the same effort and see what happens. It’s a young team and guys are stepping up. I am proud of them.”
Koscevic was brilliant against the rival Panthers. The senior allowed just one hit and used his fastball to keep Starr’s Mill off-balanced. He worked in favorable counts and stayed ahead of an aggressive offense.
“I was able to establish the inside fastball pretty early and then I mixed speeds with it,” Koscevic said. “I didn’t have my off-speed stuff working tonight, but I was able to get the changeup rolling early in the game.”
However, it took him awhile to get into the flow of the game. Early in the second inning, he struggled with back-to-back walks. He allowed free passes to on eight straight balls to Panther infielders Chay Yeager and Brian Port.
This prompted Munoz to come out to the mound for a chat to come him down. The talk provided reassurance to Koscevic as he felt that everything started to become fluid.
“Coach Munoz came out to the mound and said you have to go out and throw with your heart,” Koscevic said. “He said to take care of business and it all kind of clicked and came together for me.”
As a result, the mound visit helped Koscevic shut down Starr’s Mill. He induced a double play as Jack Bukowski doubled off Mitchell Sutton. Koscevic finished with seven strikeouts over six innings. He would later give way to Dakota Rowan, who picked up the save.
“They swept us last season and we weren’t going to let that happen this year,” Koscevic said.
The Chiefs also tipped their cap the performance displayed by Price. He frustrated the Chiefs over his 5 2/3 innings of work. The senior allowed five hits and the lone run in his outing. He also struck out three batters.
“We know that Starr’s Mill has solid pitching,” Munoz said. “Our goal today was to get guys on base and do some small ball. Today, we found some hits when we needed it. Both teams played well again. We just got the hits and they didn’t.”
Starr’s Mill fell to 7-6 on the season and suffered their first loss in region play. McIntosh improved to 10-4 and won their fifth Region AAAAA game. They sit 1.5 games behind the Panthers in the region.
Both teams will finish their series on Friday night. The Panthers expect star Auburn commit Dawson Sweatt to take the mound. Munoz said his team will be ready to face him and win the series. The series finale will be at Starr’s Mill on Friday night.
“We are trying to work the count to our pitch and put the ball in play,” Munoz said. “Hopefully, they help us with some mistakes and we will see what happens.”