Moore League baseball fans have seen enough pitcher’s duels at Blair Field to know that not all low-scoring affairs are created equal.
It wasn’t exactly Chase De Jong and Shane Watson revisited on Wednesday night, but three pitchers combined to put up eight scoreless innings before a ninth inning suicide squeeze bunt executed by Kevin Kolb and Devon Semper gave Lakewood a 1-0 win over Wilson.
“We haven’t seen these games much this season,” Lakewood coach Spud O’Neil said. “But (these players have) been in them before, and they know what it takes.”
Lakewood starting pitcher Sebastian Irwin got the win with a two-hit complete game shutout. The senior lefty gave up four walks, and struck out four.
“It was a little rough in the first few innings, but I fixed some mechanical things, and I get warmer as the game goes on,” Irwin said.
Irwin retired 10 in a row in the latter innings, and only needed 102 pitches to complete his best performance of the season. Wilson designated hitter Chad Williford broke up the no-hit bid in the fifth inning. Irwin said after the game that he spent time yesterday thinking about the history between the rivals Lakewood and Wilson.
“I thought a lot about it last night,” Irwin said. “I want the same things, and you have to be the guy.”
Wilson pitchers Ryan Pettway and Aiden Alaniz combined to keep Lakewood off of the scoreboard until the ninth despite putting 10 runners on base. Pettway got the start and pitched into the sixth inning. He gave up two hits and four walks. Alaniz came on in relief and pitched three scoreless innings.
In the top of the ninth, Semper led off with a single to right field off of Alaniz. Lakewood center fielder Carter White followed that with a single the other way, and Ricky Tiedemann was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs.
Alaniz got Ryan Ruddell to pop out, and O’Neil called on Kolb to deliver some magic. The junior had injured his ankle earlier in the game, so O’Neil knew he couldn’t run at full speed. O’Neil called an offensive timeout to set up the suicide squeeze. Kolb took strike one as instructed, and then laid down a perfect bunt in front of the plate. Alaniz’ throw home was not in time to get Semper as he slid in to score the eventual game-winning run.
“We work on that stuff, and that’s when you have to do it sometimes,” O’Neil said.
Lakewood second baseman David Baruch made two nice off-balance plays in the hole in the bottom of the ninth to help Irwin clinch the victory.
“That’s a really big win for us,” Irwin said. “We needed that.”
Wilson and Lakewood have split their regular season series in each of the last two years, but the Lancers have won five of the last seven meetings.
Before the game, Wilson alum and local Little League legends Sean and Jeff Burroughs threw out the ceremonial first pitch.