Jack Ruhr Field was under some oppressive heat on Sunday. The public address announcer made repeated mentions to the concession stand – where the standard pleas of buying a hotdog or beer were punctuated by “calls from grandma” reminding everyone to stay hydrated with water.
Hastings, visiting Miesville for the first game of a best-of-three series in the Region 1B playoffs, was similarly searching for something life-sustaining: a base runner.
Through 5 2/3 innings, the Hawks were held without a hit, and scored their first run without the benefit of one. And though Hastings made it interesting, the Mudhens and starting pitcher Steve Maher, prevailed 4-3 in the end.
The Miesville offense gave Maher a quick lead to work with as Anthony Winters came around to score on a wild pitch after reaching base by being hit by a pitch. The lead stretched to 3-0 after Winters and Matt Van Der Bosch scored in the third. Winters had doubled to lead off the inning, scoring on Charles Bruchu’s single, while Van Der Bosch walked and crossed the plate on Colin Keefe’s ground out to short.
Hitless through nearly six innings, Hastings finally got on the board after Maher hit Jordan Jeske, who promptly stole second base and took third on a wild throw from the catcher. Jeske scored on Jordy Horsch’s groundout to first.
The Hawks first hit came one batter later when Austin LaDoux blooped a ball into right field. But the rest of Hastings’ damage came in the eighth.
“It (was) a little bit hot out here, and it’s tough to keep your legs under you,” Maher said after throwing eight innings to claim the victory, and stake Miesville to a 1-0 series lead. “I was just trying to battle through. The (second) hit was a solid hit in the eighth, and after that I thought the guy would be bunting so I just laid one in there. I mean, good on him for hitting it, absolutely. And the rest I was just trying to battle through and minimize the damage.”
Perhaps the most important part of keeping the damage to a minimum was keeping all but one other arm in the pen. Andrew Werner picked up the one-inning save on four batters. Werner allowed one hit, but struck out one as well. Maher struck out nine, walked one, hit one batter, and allowed four hits and three earned runs.
“Coming into this game, with a three-game series and a couple days off, so it’s not too much of a concern with arms, but you want to go as long as you can,” Maher said. “We have some great arms here, but we’d like to save them for later in the series.”
Hastings won the second game of the series on Tuesday night, 6-5.
Jaryd Marks pitched two innings for Hastings. Jose Velez threw the next six and earned the win. He struck out nine batters. Kyle Fritz threw the ninth inning.
Jaryd Marks had two hits and two RBI. Spencer Diedrich had two hits and two RBI as well. Also recording RBIs were Jordan Jeske and Andrew Flack.
Game three is planned for 8 p.m. Friday at Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville.