Prep Baseball: Whittle prevails in pitchers' duel as Boyle beats Lincoln 3-1
Boyle pitcher Casey Whittle delvers a pitch during the Rebels' 3-1 win over Lincoln County on Monday. Whittle got the complete-game win Monday, holding Lincoln to one run on two hits. (Nancy Leedy / April 10, 2012)
The Rebels connected for seven hits, including RBI hits by Jacob Preston and Brett Jones, to get runs on the board and Whittle did the rest on the mound to lead Boyle to a 3-1 victory over Lincoln County on Monday at Rebel Field.
The junior right-hander went the distance, allowing just one run off two hits with one walk, one hit batsman and five strikeouts.
“He pitched well,” Boyle coach Kyle Wynn said. “I feel very comfortable with him on the mound, and he’s gone deep in every game he’s pitched.”
“Defense was big today because everybody hit balls hard on both sides. The last play ended on a line-out to shortstop. That’s what was happening the whole game. Luckily, the hits fell a little bit more for us today.”
Lincoln coach Brad McNew had hoped to see the Patriots get more than two hits to fall in their 45th District opener.
“We came into this game wanting to win. And the thing is, we didn’t play a bad game today. They just got their hits to fall better,” McNew said. “Whittle kept the ball around the plate and let his defense play. Zach (Brown) did the same thing for us. They both pitched a heck of a game and had good backup. They just found a few holes out there and we didn’t.”
Brown also pitched a complete game, giving up three runs off seven hits to the Rebels, with three walks, including one intentional walk, and one strikeout.
Boyle (7-6, 2-0 district) never trailed in the game, breaking a scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Clay Young got the Rebels started in the bottom of the inning with a two-out single. Scott Conyers replaced Young on first base, but he was not on long, with Preston delivering a double to left field to drive him home.
Lincoln (7-6, 0-1) got back the run in the top of the fifth. Nick Smith, who led off the inning with a single to right, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a Boone Baird groundout, then scored on another wild pitch to even it up at 1-all.
The deadlock would not last. Connor Blevins was rounding the bases with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the fifth, and Jones singled up the middle to bring him home and give Boyle a 2-1 edge.
“I’ve been saying all year that pitching and defense keep you in the games, and then timely hitting. Today was a prime example,” Wynn said. “The hits came at just the right time.
The Rebels kept the scoring going in the sixth, with Young scoring on a Jarrett Payne sacrifice to make it 3-1.
Lincoln couldn’t make up the difference in its final at-bat. Chase Pemberton’s long shot to the left-field fence was grabbed by Preston, Smith struck out and Dylan King hit a line drive straight to Ross at shortstop to end the game.
“We hit a few balls hard we just hit it right to them,” McNew said. “We did have some good at-bats, but we just hit it to people. We hit a few line drives right at guys. We just haven’t been able to get that big hit yet. That’s kind of been the difference in the close games that we’ve had.”
Boyle climbed back above the .500 mark with the win.
“That’s what we’ve been working on. We’ve been trying every day to bring it and get over the .500 record,” Wynn said. “We tell them, ‘Winning’s not a sometimes thing, it’s an all-the-time thing.’ I saw it today once we got out of school, I could tell they were ready to play.”
Lincoln had the opportunity to force another tie in the top of the sixth but was denied. The Patriots were down 2-1 with one out when Day took first after being hit by Whittle, then Ryne Otto followed with a double to deep center field.
McNew signaled for Day to make the turn at third on the hit, but then signaled for him to hold. Day didn’t see the second signal and made a break for home, and Young got the throw and made the tag at home plate to preserve the Rebels’ lead.
“We had a miscommunication there. It’s not anything John Day did. I’ll take full blame on that,” McNew said. “I threw my hands up and he didn’t see it. He’s as aggressive a player as I’ve got, and I want him to be that way. I was wanting him to turn and get a throw. He turned, but then he kept on running. That’s baseball.”
Lincoln County 000 010 0 — 1 2 1
Boyle County 100 011 x — 3 7 2
Zach Brown and Vinny Morris. Casey Whittle and Clay Young. W—Whittle. L—Brown. 2B—Ryne Otto (LC), Jacob Preston (BC) 2. 3B—Connor Blevins (BC).