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BASEBALL: Mays, Elco shut out Lebanon, 3-0

LEBANON>> Elco ace Jack Mays said it wasn't pretty. But no matter how you color a complete game three-hitter, it tends to get the job done.

Behind Mays' seven-inning, six-strikeout performance, the Elco baseball team shut out Lebanon, 3-0, Wednesday at Coleman Memorial Park. Raiders second baseman Kyle Rosengrant reached base three times, going 2-for-2 with an RBI single that capped a three-run fourth inning. Elco improved to 2-1 on the season, as the Cedars fell to 1-3, despite a strong six-inning effort from sophomore Cody Kissinger.

Kissinger posted five strikeouts, surrendered the same number of hits and briefly fell victim to an aggressive change in approach by the Raiders that proved to be the day's difference.

"That was something we talked about," Elco coach Chris Weidner said of enacting a first-pitch swinging approach. "We were getting out on the front foot a lot, so we moved up in the box, made some adjustments and got a couple key hits there."

Raiders shortstop Travis Zimmerman first came around to score on an RBI base hit courtesy of Tyler Horst, who hacked at his initial offering. A run-scoring fielder's choice and Rosengrant's base hit soon followed, while Mays was in the middle of retiring seven of eight Lebanon batters from the mound.

The Cedars' patience at the plate nearly proved to be Mays' undoing early, as the senior southpaw struggled to find his footing on the hill and subsequently handed out three first-inning free passes. A bases-loaded strikeout of Camryn Shaak eventually closed his opening nightmare, allowing Mays to find an ensuing groove of five strikeouts and three from there on out.

"Everything was off from my delivery, my mechanics. I couldn't get my foot planted on the mound," Mays explained. "But after that I kept my eye on the catcher, I threw the ball for strikes and pulled off a win today."

"Other than that rough patch in the early going, I thought he pitched really well," Weidner said. "When Jack goes out there, I know we're going to have an opportunity to compete, and it really is going to come down to us grinding out some runs and playing good defense."

Excluding two errors, Wednesday's best defense undoubtedly belonged to Lebanon, most notably in the form of junior captain Logan Blouch's triple play. With two runners in scoring position and no outs in the third inning, Blouch leapt to snare a soft line drive en route to doubling off runners at second and third base.

"It was a great play. And it came at a great time, too," Cedar coach Mike Toomey said. "We were on the brink of them opening it up, and Cody kept attacking the strike zone, got a weak line drive and everyone was at the right spot at the right time."

Co-captain Austyn Yerger later laid out in center to scoop a liner of his own, minutes before Lebanon shortstop Michael Deleon Torres saved runs with nifty glovework and strong throws across the diamond. However no matter how many runners the Cedars denied, they couldn't bring around any of their own, including two that stood aboard in the final frame. Mays went on to tie up Yerger on a pair of curveballs toe put on a bow on the afternoon and his first complete game of the year.

Elco 000 300 0 — 3 5 0 Lebanon 000 000 0 — 0 3 2

W — Mays; L — Kissinger.

SO-BB — E: Mays 6-6. CC: Kissinger 5-2, Martin 0-0.

2B — E: Zimmerman.