It was time for the McConnellsburg baseball team to turn things around. The Spartans had just ended a nine-game losing skid by beating Chestnut Ridge, one of the top teams in the Sideling Hill League.
Next up was rival Southern Fulton, also near the top of the SHL. And Garrison Crouse shut down the Indians in a 4-2 victory last Tuesday, allowing only four hits. McConnellsburg then made it three straight by handling Northern Bedford on Thursday, with Crouse going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs.
Crouse is the Public Opinion Male Athlete of the Week.
"The Southern Fulton game was a big highlight," Crouse said, "because we needed to turn things around. Now it's kind of a snowball going in the right direction."
During the nine-game losing streak, the Spartans had lost six one-run games.
"We just had to play with more confidence," McConnellsburg coach Brian Ramsey said. "Once we did, it's carried over. Garrison had thrown some good games, but we haven't hit the ball as well as we should have been and he didn't get much run support."
Before the SF game, Crouse was 0-4, but his last three losses were 4-3, 2-0 and 3-2. When the Indians scored two runs in the top of the first, things didn't look too good. But that's all the scoring they got, and his teammates got him the runs he needed.
Ramsey said, "He settled down and threw a good game. He kept them off-balance, kept the ball down and they didn't hit a lot of balls hard."
"I got hit the first inning when I left some pitches up," Crouse said. "I want to throw first-pitch strikes so I can mix in the other pitches."
In 36 2/3 innings, Crouse has allowed 32 hits, walked 12, struck out 25 and pitched to an ERA of 2.86.
Crouse said, "Pitching is my favorite thing to do. I love it. Being in control of the game and being able to set the pace, and knowing that my team is counting on me to do my job is what I really like."
His team really liked what he did for them last week, too.
Garrison Crouse, McConnellsburg
Position: Pitcher, outfielder
Parents: Michael and Mary Crouse
Interests: He likes to hunt and fish, and he's worked at carpentry in the summers.
Surprising fact: He's always worn No. 7.
Favorite team: Baltimore Orioles
Favorite player: Chris Davis
Statistics: Last Tuesday, Crouse hurled a four-hitter to beat rival Southern Fulton, 4-2 ... He walked three and struck out three ... In a win over Northern Bedford, Crouse was 2-for-3 with a double and three runs batted in.