HARROD – Allen East’s Nate Ketchum provided the insurance run and Carter Frey delivered the save in the Mustang’s 5-4 win over Lima Senior in a non league affair Tuesday.
After five innings, the Mustangs owned a 4-1 advantage but in the sixth inning, Lima Senior scratched out two runs to get within one, 4-3, and garnering some confidence at the plate. Sensing he might need an additional score, Mustang head coach Abram Escamilla told his team he wanted an insurance run as his team prepared to bat in the bottom half of the frame but that didn’t look like it was going to happen when Lima Senior got two quick outs on a double play on a line drive with Ketchum coming to the plate.
But Ketchum smashed a towering home run over the right field wall to record that run that proved to be the difference because in the top of the seventh, Lima Senior rallied to score one run off Frey who was working his second inning of relief and found himself with the bases loaded and facing Logan Davenport who already had two hits on the day.
But Frey got him to pop up to preserve the victory.
“They wouldn’t go away,” Escamilla said. “Carter Frey, he is a change of pace guy, and he threw them off a little to start and the last guy wanted to kill it but got under it and he popped it up and that won the game for us. That and Nate Ketchum’s home run. I told them before they went out that I need one more run. It is going to take one more run to win this game and Nate gave us that one run.”
Allen East improves to 2-0 and Lima Senior falls to 0-2.
Lima Senior head coach Casey Reed said he was happy with the way the team fought back but added that they need to get things going in the early innings.
“We just talked to them about it and told them we need to put the foot on the gas peddle early,” Reed said. We can’t wait until the end of the game to get rolling. You can see what we can do but we can’t wait until we run out of at bats.”
Both teams got solid performances from their starting pitchers.
For Allen East, Bradden Crumrine pitched five innings and scattered three hits over five innings of work. He fanned six and walked three. He was lifted at the onset of the sixth after walking the first batter he faced.
In relief, Frey earned his save the hard way. Even though he fanned four in his two frames of work, he also gave up two singles and walked two, one intentional, and he also hit a batter.
Lima Senior starter D’Ontre Cowan went five innings and gave up three hits and yielded four walks while fanning 11 and surrendering three walks. The Spartan southpaw struggled with control problems in the first inning and gave up two runs on one hit and two walks, settled in after that to contain the Mustang bats.
Spartan reliever Brandon Griffith, a freshman, pitched one inning and gave up one run on one hit while walking one.
“That’s always how it goes with him,” Reed said. “His first inning is always rocky but we know if we can get through that first inning and get some defensive plays he is good to go and he settles in and is good to go. The last pitcher we brought in was a freshman and he threw strikes and that is all we ask him to do and let them hit the ball and that one dude really hit the ball.”
The Mustang runs came primarily due to Spartan mistakes in the field. Lima Senior had five errors and four of those miscues led to runs.
“We noticed a few things when they were taking infield and I told the boys ‘get ready we are going to take advantage of them when we can and the opportunities showed up and we did. The one thing I am blessed with is speed and so we are going to take advantage of our speed on the bases when we can.”
Offensively, Crumrine was 1 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI and Ketchum was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
For Lima Senior, Cowan had a double and two runs scored.
“A lot of these guys haven’t played varsity baseball or seen varsity pitching,” Reed said. “I have three guys that have seen varsity pitching and the other 16 have not. We are kind of flying by the seat of our pants and just find the hot bat and I am sure as the season moves on we will get better.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.