By Jeremy Balan
Lick-Wilmerding senior pitcher Hayden Cory threw a one-hit shutout and out-dueled a game Urban pitching staff to lead the Tigers to a 2-0 win in the Bay Counties League West semifinals on Thursday at Skyline College.
Cory struck out seven in the complete-game win and pitched five no-hit innings until Urban junior Gabriel Howden hit a leadoff double in the top of the sixth inning.
“I felt pretty good,” Cory said. “I had a good game against [Marin Academy] earlier in the season and I’m trying to keep that energy and that mindset. I changed my fastball grip today. I normally throw a two-seam, but switched to a four-seam.”
Urban (8-15, 3-7) threatened in the seventh after Cory hit two batters to put the tying run on base, but a key mound visit from Lick Assistant Coach Scott Garlow enabled Cory to settle down and eliminate the threat by causing Urban’s Jackson Goldberg to pop out to end the game.
“We were just trying to settle him down and get him to throw some strikes,” said Lick Head Coach Manny Granillo. “We initially were going to bring in our closer and he was ready, but [Cory] convinced me [to let him] stay in. When you have a kid like that, who is that competitive and who wants the ball, he’s earned it.”
Lick (18-7, 9-1) scrapped together a pair of runs early, with a run scored by catcher Matt Foley on a passed ball in the first and an RBI groundout from senior first baseman Brian Wong in the third.
Urban struggled at the plate, but was lifted by Goldberg, who pitched four solid innings for the Blues, striking out seven and allowing only one earned run.
Goldberg, who has been used as a reliever for most of the season, got the start because the Blues used their top two starters in their 3-2, 11-inning win over University in the first round on Tuesday.
“Jackson has a heart of a lion,” said Urban Head Coach Noah Bowling. “He actually didn’t know he had the rock until the bus ride here today. I’m so proud of his efforts. We know they have great hitters and we did a pretty good job of keeping them off the bases.”
With the win, Lick advances to the final against Marin Academy on Saturday, but Granillo still thinks the Tigers have room for improvement.
“We didn’t hit well today and didn’t play well defensively,” Granillo said. “We need to work on fundamentals and we need to hit much better than we did today.”
Lick junior right-hander Danny Baldocchi will get the start for the Tigers on Saturday.
LW – Matt Foley scores on passed ball
LW – Brian Wong grounds out to shortstop, Foley scores
Marin Academy 8, Stuart Hall 1
Facing Stuart Hall ace Frank Duncan, Marin Academy worked nine walks and got timely hits to advance to the BCL West title game against Lick-Wilmering with a 8-1 win on Thursday at Skyline College.
Duncan, a senior who recently committed to play at Kansas, struggled with command through his four innings and allowed six runs (four earned), while walking seven and striking out eight.
“It was really tough to go out that way,” said Stuart Hall Head Coach Eddie Russell. “We threw our ace out there today and he just didn’t have his best stuff. He was having a hard time making adjustments early on and they were able to capitalize on it.”
Duncan loaded the bases in the first and fourth innings and the Wildcats cleared the bases both times, with a three-RBI triple from catcher Andrew Schleeter in the first and a three-RBI double from right fielder Isaac Pollan in the fourth.
“Our runs came as a result of putting guys on base and getting big hits,” said Marin Academy Head Coach Thomas Wolf. “Our goal was to hit his fast ball, because he has a pretty nasty changeup and curveball. When he wasn’t locating that, it made our jobs a bit easier.”
Marin Academy also got a complete game from junior sidearmer Andrew Hove, who allowed only three hits to collect the win. Hove retired nine consecutive Stuart Hall batters after allowing two hits in the first inning.
“He’s not going to overpower anybody, but he’s got movement on every pitch he throws and it’s a result of his delivery,” Wolf said of Hove. “He’s not a guy you look at and think he’s going allow one run a game, but that’s really what he’s done all year.”
MA – Andrew Schleeter triples to right, Johnny Wallace, Miles McCreary and Conor Flemming score
MA – Isaac Pollon doubles to left, Wallace, McCreary and Flemming score
SH – Simon Goldsmith walks, Harry Conrad scores
MA – McCreary doubles to right, Peter Schneider and Wallace score