From the way Jared Pine looked on the mound during Saturday's non-league baseball game against McConnellsburg, you would've never guessed it was his first start of the season - let alone his first varsity win.
Pine struck out eight batters and allowed just one hit on the way to pitching a complete-game shutout to lead the Rockets to a 2-0 win over McConnellsburg.
"It was nice to be back on the mound," Pine said. "It's my first year back pitching after a broken shoulder, so it felt really good to be back up there."
"He asked for the ball today, and I took that as a good sign," James Buchanan coach Dave Sanchez said. "I think it was a little bit of a rivalry here because he knows all of these guys, and it turned out to be a great sign. He pitched unbelievably."
But a shutout performance on the mound wasn't enough for Pine. He also scored the deciding run in the sixth inning.
After a quick five innings, Pine stepped up to the plate with one out on the board and hit a bunt on the first pitch, and successfully beat the play to first base. The next play he stole second and advanced to third on an error, and was brought home on a single hit by Zane Bray after weaving his way around McConnellsburg catcher Lucas McClain to avoid the tag.
"I was just trying to be a leader," Pine said. "With the bunt I was just trying to make something happen. We were getting the ball in play but they weren't making many mistakes, so we had to make our own breaks. We got lucky on the hit-and-run ball (which bounced off second base allowing him to advance to third) and we just executed from there."
Remi Spoonhour later scored an insurance run for the Rockets (3-1) after a making a gutsy move down the third-base line on a high pitch. He was caught in a pickle, but Spoonhour outran the play to safely slide home.
"I didn't feel like we were going to hit our way to a win today," Sanchez said. "Whatever we had to do to get a run across, move runners around, maybe if we got them throwing the ball maybe they would throw one away, and they did."
Brice Feagley did the dirty work for McConnellsburg (2-2), pitching seven solid innings, and registering the team's only hit.
"We didn't put any pressure on them," McConnellsburg coach Brian Ramsey said. "I think we had a couple of opportunities where we could have run on them, but we didn't have enough guys in play to run. We have to get more consistent and put the ball in play."