With the sun shining and the temperatures in the low 80s, Greencastle-Antrim ace pitcher Myles Gayman said he felt really good on the mound.
That was bad news for Eastern York.
Gayman fired a five-hit shutout and struck out 15 Golden Knight batters to help G-A post a 6-0 victory Tuesday afternoon in a first-round game of the District 3 Class AAA baseball tournament. The top-seeded Blue Devils (18-1) will play Bishop McDevitt (15-7) in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Northern York.
"The warmest day I've pitched in this year was probably 65, so this felt great," Gayman said. "It definitely makes a difference with my endurance because it wasn't locking up my arm and shoulder. I was able to get a little more bite on the curveball and the fastball came out of my hand a little quicker."
Eastern York coach Blaine Garner said, "He has a nice fastball and he threw his curve for strikes. We did not get our timing down."
But the Golden Knights (13-8) did load the bases in the top of the third on singles by Emmit Silar and Bren Taylor and a two-out walk to Colby Shimmel. Then Gayman fanned Brandon Knarr with three straight wicked curveballs to end the threat.
"He did what he needed to do - be an ace," Greencastle coach Eric Shaner said. "He had good stuff and he was consistently throwing 89 to 91 (mph). To their credit, they battled him, and with the stuff he had today, that's not easy."
Eastern leadoff batter Bren Taylor said. "He's the best pitcher we've seen this year. His curve was pretty decent, but we've seen guys with his fastball before. We had the bases loaded and if we score there it might be a different game."
In fact, Garner thought the umpires should have called a balk on Gayman with the bases loaded.
"I thought they missed one, but they usually do," Garner said. "If we could have gotten the lead, you never know."
But the Blue Devils did take the lead in the bottom of the third. Gayman and Austin Branchman singled and Matt Kline bunted them up. Consecutive ground balls to the right side by Quin Ambeault and Derek Measell got through the infield and made it 2-0.
Another run scored in the fourth when, on a hit-and-run, Dillon Morgan got a running start and scored from first when Gayman's bloop fell just fair in right field. Greencastle added three more in the fifth after Kline belted a leadoff double and Ambeault singled. Three consecutive walks and a hit batter made it a 6-0 cushion.
Shaner said, "The key is we don't expect to be lighting pitchers up in the playoffs, and we didn't today (of the Blue Devils' 10 hits, only three were hit hard). But we took advantage of almost every opportunity and didn't make any errors."
That's a good recipe when Gayman is on the mound feeling good.