GSL baseball: Payton Mackin pitches Highlanders past North Central
Shadle Park senior pitcher Payton Mackin started the game by striking out the side against rival North Central. The Indians challenged several times, but just couldn’t break through in the host Highlanders’ 3-0 victory.
Despite a fine effort by Indians freshman hurler Alek Jacob, Shadle Park batters found enough holes to notch the win on a day where rain forced most other games to be postponed.
“The defense is what we are really pleased with,” Shadle Park coach Ron Brooks said. “You take ’em any way you can get ’em. But tip your hat to North Central. They took us right to the end.”
Mackin had eight strikeouts in the complete-game win to improve to 4-1 on the season.
“Coach Brooks said ‘the game is yours.’ I tried to pace myself,” Mackin said. “It was a big week of baseball.”
The week started with a 10-inning 1-0 loss to league-leading Gonzaga Prep (13-2, 12-1). Shadle Park (11-4, 9-4) rebounded the next day for a huge 8-4 win over Ferris (9-5, 8-4).
On Thursday, the Highlanders got it going with two outs in the bottom of the third when offensive juggernaut Evan Douglas, who went 2 for 2, smashed a ball to the outfield fence.
Douglas stopped at second base but took off for third when he saw the base uncovered and the ball with the middle infielders. In a race with the NC defense for third he was called safe, a play that several North Central faithful saw the other way. Brett Rypien followed with a line drive that the Indians’ second basemen misjudged and the ball hit his leg and skipped away, allowing Douglas to score.
Johnny Krupla then lifted a soft liner over first base that scored Zaq Munson, who came on to run for Rypien.
North Central (1-14, 0-13) loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning, but Mason Doidge hit a grounder to first that Dalen Hainline fired to Rypien for a force-out at the plate. Rypien then gunned it to first base for a double play that ended the threat.
Shadle Park tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Jacob walked in a run.
The Indians were on the verge of a rally in the top of the sixth inning, but Riley Smith hit a grounder to the shortstop Douglas, who started a double play to end the threat.
“We are a very young team,” North Central coach Barry Matthews said. “We have a lot of couple-run games where it comes down to a couple of double plays.”