Coming off a debilitating, 14-run loss on Senior Night to Alexandria, Missississinewa came into Thursday night’s CIC contest with Madison-Grant looking for a spark to get back on the right track.
That spark turned out to be junior pitcher Keaghan Williams.
Against a lethal and hard-hitting Madison-Grant lineup, Williams spun a complete-game gem, recording his best pitching performance of the season in a 3-1 triumph over the Argylls.
“Well, today is my mother’s birthday, and that’s one of the best gifts you can give your mom,” Williams said with a sly smile after the game. “I just stayed confident and kept filling the zone up.”
With the victory, the Indians handed the Argylls their first conference loss of 2021, taking ownership of the traveling CIC plate in the process.
“He had a little bit of motivation today, and he came determined to win a ball game,” Mississinewa Head Coach Mike Scott said of Williams. “He went out and earned this one. I couldn’t be any more proud of that kid and what he accomplished tonight.”
After giving up two doubles to Teagan Yeagy and Nick Evans, together with a run, in the first three batters, Williams settled into his groove.
Undaunted, the junior hurler, using an effective combination of a well-placed fastball and a devastating curveball, kept the Argylls’ lineup at bay, allowing zero runs, and just four hits, the rest of the way.
“That’s what you are going to get out of Keaghan Williams no matter what,” Scott said. “He’s not going to show those emotions. He can strike out the side or he can give up back-to-back doubles and you are going to see the exact same emotion. That’s what it takes to have success up on the mind. You have to ride those emotions at a consistent level, and that’s exactly what he did.”
For the game, along with the six hits allowed, Williams struck out eight Argylls while walking just one.
“He kept us off balance. Our kids saw him three or four times and just didn’t make an adjustment,” Madison-Grant Head Coach Scott Haley said. “But give credit to him. He threw the fastball and then threw the curveball to put us away. He did an awesome job.”
Madison-Grant’s 1-2 combination of Nick Evans and Brayden Shoemaker pitched well in their own right, combining to allow three hits while striking out six, but a pair of errors in the second inning proved to be costly for the Argylls.
Evans recorded the first two outs of the inning, inducing a grounder to Yeagy at second base and a fly out to Shoemaker in right field, but back-to-back miscues allowed Mississinewa freshman Kohen Bailey to score with ease, tying the contest at 1-1.
“You can’t give good teams four or five outs an inning,” M-G Head Coach Scott Haley said. “We gave them five outs in the second inning. That is just a backbreaker. But give Mississinewa credit. They kept battling. They put pressure on us. They made us make plays, and we didn’t make them in that inning.”
Mississinewa scored its remaining two runs in the third inning. After Kreigh Young led off the frame with a single and Colin Yoder reached base after being hit by a pitch, Landen Swanner, who has been one of the Indians’ best and most clutch hitters throughout the season, delivered another crucial hit, driving home Young for the 2-1 advantage, one they would relinquish.
“He just simply gets the job done,” Scott said of Swanner. “He does not look like your prototypical cleanup hitter, but then, when you look at the stats, that’s exactly what he is. He just gets the job done.”
Moments later, with Yoder at third and Swanner, the duo executed a perfect double steal. While Swanner was thrown out at second base, Yoder reached home unscatched for the final tally.
The Argylls were able to put four runners on base in the final three innings, but none advanced further than second base.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the boys,” Scott said. “They stuck to [our gameplan] and they had that grit and determination today. They came out today to prove a point, and they did.”
Young led the Indians’ offense with two hits in three at-bats, while Swanner finished with the Indians’ remaining hit and lone run batted in.
For the Argylls, Yeagy finished 2-for-4 with a double, while Evans finished 2-for-3 from the dish with an RBI.