Kernel baseball gets strong performance from MastelMitchell right-handed pitcher Evan Mastel found all sorts of ways to record outs Thursday. In Mitchell’s 3-0 win over Corsica/Stickney/Armour at Drake Field, Mastel got batters out on soft ground balls, easy pop flies, rocketing liners and a pair of fifth-inning strikeouts.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Mitchell right-handed pitcher Evan Mastel found all sorts of ways to record outs Thursday.
In Mitchell’s 3-0 win over Corsica/Stickney/Armour at Drake Field, Mastel got batters out on soft ground balls, easy pop flies, rocketing liners and a pair of fifth-inning strikeouts.
“He could have easily gone three or four more innings,” said Mitchell coach Luke Norden, who pulled Mastel in the top of the seventh to get Michael Sadler action on the mound. “I think he threw close to 60 pitches through six innings.”
The only trouble Mastel got in was during the second inning, when the Express put together three straight hits, their only hits of the game.
C/S/A’s Ryan Hongslo had a one-out double before Gunner Baan Hofman and Allen Muilenburg slapped singles through the infield to load the bases. But the inning ended on a sharp double play, starting with a ground ball to Mitchell first baseman Josh Schmidt, who fired home to Sadler for a force out. Sadler relayed the throw back to Schmidt to keep Mitchell’s shutout rolling.
“That was fun to watch,” Mastel said. “I trust my defense and believe in all the guys out there.”
Mastel retired the next 12 batters in a row. His most efficient inning was in the third, throwing six pitches and getting three fly-ball outs. In six innings, he induced seven ground-ball outs, seven fly-ball outs and two line-drive outs. In his first start of the year, Mastel didn’t walk a batter and he finished with two strikeouts.
“Their pitcher, he was right there all the time, making us swing the bat,” said Express coach Bob Bamberg, whose team plays postseason baseball in Class B, whereas Mitchell is a Class A team.
The Kernels scored two runs in the first inning to help Mastel settle in. Leadoff hitter Brent Havlik walked and eventually scored when Zach Bennett hit a hard grounder past Rexwinkel at second base. In the next at-bat, Josh Schmidt had an RBI groundout to short, scoring Seth Cavanaugh, who had a single to right field.
Mitchell had four hits in six innings at the plate. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead, Lakin Neugebauer had a two-out RBI single in the third to score Jared Schmidt in a close play at the plate.
“In some instances, three runs is going to win a ballgame,” Norden said. “I told the guys not to expect that three runs will win you every game, but it will win you some games here or there.”
Mitchell (3-1) plays at Brandon in a seven-inning game at 6 p.m. Tuesday in its next action. The Express travel to Mount Vernon for a 2 p.m. game Saturday against the Outlaws.
NOTES: Four Express pitchers saw action on the mound. Starting pitcher Adam Fink took the loss, throwing two innings and allowing two runs. He allowed two hits and two walks. Aaron Groeneweg and Hongslo each pitched an inning and Lane Thomas pitched the fifth and the sixth and retired six out of the seven batters he faced.
“I thought our pitching was pretty good,” Bamberg said. “Mitchell is a good team, and we held them to three runs. Hopefully, we can build on this.”
Sadler pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning. … Cavanaugh, Josh Schmidt, Kirby Fuerst and Neugebauer each had singles. Jared Schmidt reached base in all three plate appearances with two walks and reaching by error.