Most Viewed Stories
Pine Creek's pitching tops Liberty's hitting in 8-2 victory
Score this one for great pitching over great hitting.
Pine Creek, which came into Thursday's game as the 5A Metro League's top pitching team, knocked off Liberty, which possesses the league's best batting average, 8-2 at Liberty.
Pine Creek's 1.83 ERA will only shrink after the win as both runs scored against Eagles starter Spencer Bedwell were unearned. The senior threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing six hits.
“My approach was just get that first-pitch strike,” Bedwell said. “Then I can throw what I want to – a change-up or a curveball to get a pop-up or a ground out. That seemed to work out really well.”
He pitched to contact all game with just one three-up, three-down inning and a single strikeout. Closer Reagan Biechler had a different approach, mowing down the final four Lancers with three coming by way of strikeout.
“It always feels good when you have Biechler in your pocket,” Pine Creek coach Glenn Millhauser said.
Biechler was also the Eagles' hitting star, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. He has what baseball people call a "slow heartbeat," which serves him well in both roles.
“I just keep calm, keep relaxed,” he said. “It's a lot of pressure but I love it when I have the pressure on me.”
Pine Creek remained unbeaten in league play at 8-0 and improved to 10-2 overall. Liberty, which had its five-game winning streak snapped, slipped to 6-2 in league play and 8-4 overall. During the streak, the Lancers had outscored opponents 65-21.
“I've been pretty nervous about this game for a while,” Millhauser said. “Every game is a battle with these guys. They've been playing really well and they've been winning by the same margins we've been winning by.”
Pine Creek's Brandon Hesselberg led the game off with a triple and scored two batters later on a single by Biechler. A walk and another single loaded the bases before Dane Hutcheon's walk forced in a second run. A misplayed ground ball scored the Eagles' third run.
An RBI ground out by Brian Skrdlant scored Hutcheon, who had led off the third inning with a single, to make it 4-0.
Alex White's RBI single in the fifth put Liberty on the board, but Pine Creek answered loudly in the top of the sixth as the first five Eagles reached base, four by hits and one by error. Hesselberg had a two-run double and Biechler a run-scoring single as Pine Creek scored four times to increase the margin to 8-1.
Liberty, which entered the game with a league-best .388 team batting average, got an RBI double by Avery Vasquez in the bottom half of the sixth.
“They're a very good hitting team,” Millhauser said. “We see them so many times. We know where to play them, we know where to pitch them, knowing their team helped.”
The two teams will only get more familiar since they play each other again Saturday at Pine Creek.
“I was nervous about that, too, because we've got prom Friday night,” Millhauser said. “That's never good. Those kids stay out most of the night whether you tell them to or not.
“I knew that this game, we had to have it to take a little pressure off that Saturday game.”