Young baseball teams are prone to having their ups and downs, sometimes from one game to the next.
That was certainly the case for the McDowell Titans Wednesday. One night after struggling to come up with clutch hits in a 2-1 loss to St. Stephens, the Titans got a number of them in a 12-6 non-conference win over the R-S Central Hilltoppers at Titan Field. Seven of the Titans’ runs came with two outs.
McDowell (2-1 overall, 0-1 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference) broke open a tight game with a three run fourth, followed by a two-run fifth and another three-run outburst in the sixth.
Right fielder Gage Gentry had a huge night at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and five runs batted in. Gentry had a two-run single in the fourth and a two-RBI double in the fifth to help the Titans take command.
Gentry had some help. Ethan Hamm went 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base and two RBIs. Josh Maddux (SB) was 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Brycen Seymore went 1-for-3 with a double and drove in three runs.
Three Young and Cyrus Black (SB) also hit safely for the Titans, who collected nine hits as a team off four R-S Central pitchers.
McDowell did the Hilltoppers one better, using five hurlers in the game. Lefty Billy Cessna (1 1/3 IP, 1H, 1BB) ended up getting the win in relief. Chapel Matson started the game and the Titans also threw Ethan Davis, Justin Davis and Seymore, all for at least one inning apiece.
As a group, McDowell’s pitchers allowed seven hits and 10 walks.
The Titans took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Matson, Maddux and Seymore, the first three batters, all walked. One out later, Gentry drew a base on balls for his first RBI of the game. Hamm’s two-out, line-drive single to right drove in a pair and made it 3-0.
But the Hilltoppers bounced back with a four-run second to take the lead.
The Titans evened the score at 4-4 in their half of the second. Young led off with an infield single and later scored on a two-out double to left by Seymore.
Central again forged ahead 5-4 with a run in the third, but the Titans took over in the fourth.
Maddux was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Seymore and Justin Dula drew walks to load the bases. Gentry lined a two-run single to right to make it 6-5, and the Titans never looked back. Dula later crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make it 7-5.
Gentry’s double in the fifth plated Matson, who had walked, and Dula, who was hit by a pitch, to make it 9-5.
The Titans added three more in the sixth, getting fielder’s choice RBIs from both Matson (SB, 2BB) and Seymore.
Leadoff man Noah Harris was 3-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs to lead R-S Central. Riley Stanley absorbed the loss in relief despite not giving up a hit. Stanley allowed three runs in 1 1/3 innings, walking three batters and plunking another.
The Titans returned to NWC play Thursday at home against perennial state contenders South Caldwell. Results were not available at press time. McDowell is at Watauga next Tuesday.
McDowell 10, R-S Central 6 (jayvees) – The Titans ran their record to 2-0-1 with a 10-6 win over Central.
McDowell never trailed after a seven-run first inning put the Titans in front.
Cole Weaver went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs, while Ben Barnes was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs. Dusty Revis and Ty Smith (RBI, SB) had a hit apiece. Ethan Hensley, Peyton Rose (3BB, SB) and Mason Lamb each had an RBI.
Logan Duncan got the win, going two scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out three while walking two.