HICKORY - It wasn’t the easiest feat in the world, especially playing on the road, but the McDowell Titans found a way to get the job done.
The Titans were able to hold off a late rally on the diamond Friday night, holding off the Saint Stephens Indians 11-10 to earn their second road win in as many nights.
The win puts McDowell (7-6 overall, 2-6 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference) back above the .500 mark and finishes off another busy three-game week in which the team won two of three contests. The Titans are also putting together a solid run of success at roughly the midway point, having won five of their last seven contests overall.
The early innings went totally in McDowell’s favor, including a first inning in which the Titans batted around, sending 10 to the plate and scoring five times. After Saint Stephens responded with a single run, McDowell countered with three more off starting pitcher Jake Speaks (1.1 IP, 8R, 8H, 2 K, BB) to race out to an 8-1 lead.
With Juan Campos (3.2 IP, 7R, 3H, 5K, 6BB) on the mound, the Titans were in a position to potentially run away with the contest. However the Indians chipped away with four more runs in the bottom of the second, in essence getting themselves off the hook for the early deficit.
Even with McDowell leading wire-to-wire in this game, they were challenged by Saint Stephens for the rest of the night. The Titans, who were up 10-5 after three-and-a-half innings, saw that lead shrink to 10-8 in the next half inning. And at 11-8 the Indians scored two in the sixth off relief pitcher Justin Davis to get within a run. However, reliever Justin Dula was called upon to get the last four outs of the game, striking out four of five batters faced to earn the save.
Gavin Marley singled to right field to begin the Indians seventh but he never advanced any further than first base. Dula then battled against outfielder J.D. Everett in a lengthy at bat. The McDowell righty eventually struck him out on payoff pitch. Dula then retired Chance Benfield on three pitches and then Owen VanSickle (3-4, double, 2RBIs) on a 2-2 count to end the game.
Offensively McDowell collected 11 hits against the Indians pitching staff. Three Young had a three-hit game, driving in three runs. Josh Maddux (2-5, R, RBI) and Ethan Davis (2-4, 2R, 2RBIs, BB) also had multiple hits. Brycen Seymore, Gage Gentry, Dula and Justin Davis finished with one hit apiece.
The McDowell first started with a hit from Maddux. Ethan Hamm was then hit by a pitch. Then with one out, Gentry and Davis had opposite-field singles to put the Titans in front 2-0. Dula ripped an RBI-single to left on the first pitch and then Young had a two-run double from the eight spot in the lineup for the fourth and fifth runs of the frame.
The solid contact off Speaks continued for McDowell in the second. Hits included an RBI double from Ethan Davis and a two-run single from Justin Davis.
Saint Stephens 6, McDowell 2 (jayvees) - In junior varsity action, the St Stephens Indians were victorious by a 6-2 margin. The Indians jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings and two more in the fifth for their largest margin of the game at 5-0. McDowell did push across one run in the top half of the sixth inning.
Caleb Jimison singled with one out. Then, with two outs, Dusty Revis tripled past the Saint Stephens right fielder, scoring Jimison on the play. Unfortunately McDowell (7-5-1) mustered just five hits off the Indians pitching staff. Logan Duncan went 2-for-3. Revis, Luke Roberts and Jimison had one hit apiece.
McDowell will finish off a string of three consecutive road contests Tuesday at South Caldwell.