Kearns pitches, hits Huskies to win
LEWISTOWN – Mifflin County got a game-tying RBI triple and a complete game from pitcher Isaiah Kearns as they knocked off perennial Mid-Penn conference contender Red Land 3-2 on Monday at Mifflin County High School.
Kearns delivered in the run-scoring hit in the bottom of the third inning to give Mifflin County a 3-2 advantage it didn’t relinquish.
“The hit he had out there … It was a little off the hands too,” Mifflin County coach Travis Zook said. “He’s got some raw power that I haven’t seen before. The ball just flies off his bat. It was even into the wind there.”
On the mound, the Huskies’ starter scattered four hits over seven innings with the only serious blow Red Land shortstop Dalton Clouser’s two-run single in the third.
Kearns breezed through the first two innings, allowing just one harmless hit.
Mifflin County struck for the first time in the bottom of the second when Red Land starter Zach Newmyer’s control went awry, walking two Huskies’ batters.
Kyle Bodtorf delivered an RBI single to make Newmyer pay for one of those walks, staking his team to a 1-0 lead.
Red Land got two back in the top half of the third. The bottom two hitters for Red Land order got on with a walk and a hit to start off the inning.
A sacrifice bunt was popped right up to Kearns for the first out of the inning.
Both runners moved up on a wild pitch setting up Clouser’s two-run single to left.
Kearns escaped the inning with two groundouts sandwiched by a hit batsman, to keep the game at 2-1 Red Land.
The Mifflin County pitcher helped himself out in the Huskies’ half of the inning when he blasted a triple to the right-center field gap, scoring John Michael Maclay to tie the game.
Lucas McKay followed with the go-ahead single to center, scoring another run and putting the Huskies back on top 3-2.
Kearns worked a quick 1-2-3 fourth inning, that included two fly balls and a strikeout.
A bit of trouble arose for the Huskies in the top of the fifth when Josh Snyder drew a one-out walk and later moved up to third.
Kearns again worked around the trouble and get Clouser swinging before a pop-out to McKay at shortstop ended the inning.
“He can go in-and-out so it keeps the hitters really off balance,” Maclay said. “He likes to mix up the off-speed stuff in there a lot. That really helps.”
Mifflin County had a chance to tack on a run in the bottom half of the inning, but some confusion on the base paths led to a 7-2 double play and the end of the threat.
For the final time on the day, the Huskies starter had to get out of a jam that started with an inning-opening double to right field by his counterpart Newmyer.
Kearns induced a pop-out before hitting the following batter to put runners on first and second with one out.
In an effort to move the runners up 90 feet, Patriots third-baseman Rey Colon bunted the ball right back to Kearns, who threw to Issac Strohecker at third, who relayed to the covering Heath Hidlay at first for the rare 1-5-4 inning-ending double play.
“When his fastball is coming in there we had it 86 (miles per hour) all the way up to 89,” Zook said. “With his second and third pitches, it just sets him up real good. It just gives batters fits in there (against him).”
Following a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, Kearns came out for the seventh and pitched around an error to record the final three outs.
“They all mean a lot,” Zook said. “It’s always nice when you see the guys to be at the top league who are always good like Red Land. We came to play today. We did a lot of things well. (There were) a couple of miscommunications and not-smart plays on the basepaths, but otherwise, a great game. I’m proud that we won it.”
Eight members of the Yeagerstown Fire Co. were on hand at the beginning of the game for the dedication of the scoreboard that now graces the Mifflin County field.
The Huskies (4-1, 4-1) will be back in action today when they travel to State College.