In the first matchup between the two baseball teams viewed as the best in the Northern Lakes League, host Anthony Wayne used a little bit of everything in taking a 6-1 win over Southview on Wednesday.
Senior right-handed pitcher Andrew Murphy worked quickly and efficiently for the Generals (7-1, 2-0 NLL), the preseason NLL favorite. He scattered seven hits and blanked Southview over the final six innings of his complete-game victory.
“Both teams hit the ball pretty well today,” AW coach Mark Nell said. “The ball was jumping to left field, and some of ours fell and we got a couple over the fence.
Anthony Wayne's Brock Nartker tags out Southview's Sammy Kale at third base on an attempted steal during Wednesday's NLL meeting.
PHOTO GALLERY: Anthony Wayne 6, Southview 1
“It was two good NLL teams battling it out. This league is a grind, and this is just the beginning. We’re glad to be where we’re at right now and glad we came out on top. This is a big win because that’s a very good team.”
Murphy threw 71 of his 102 total pitches for strikes, fanning five Cougar batters and walking just one.
“I like to keep my defense ready, and pitching quick is always good for the defense because they’re into it,” Murphy said of his pace. “I just put it over the plate, make the hitters hit the ball, and trust my defense to make the plays.
“We knew that it was going to be a hitter’s day, and we got ahead early. That made it easy for me to pitch from there.”
VIDEO: Anthony Wayne 6, Southview 1
The only run Murphy surrendered came after two were out in the first inning. Southview’s Logan Danzeisen doubled to the gap in left-center and scored on a single to right by Matt Ferguson.
Murphy was helped by his defense, particularly his battery mate, senior catcher Brady Theis, who threw out three Southview runners on steal attempts in the game.
Offensively, both big ball and small ball played a role in the Generals’ scoring.
Anthony Wayne starting pitcher Andrew Murphy threw a complete game in the Generals' 6-1 win.
After Southview (4-3, 1-1) had grabbed its 1-0 lead in the top of the first, AW wasted no time going back on top for good.
Nick Schneider led off the bottom of the first with a single to center. On the next pitch from Cougars senior pitcher C.J. Leonard, Connor Judy pounded a two-run home run to left field, taking full advantage of the gusty winds.
AW also took full advantage of Southview’s temporary defensive collapse in the fourth inning.
Theis (2-for-3) led off with a single to left and continued to second on a bobble by Southview’s Adam Rusgo. Carter Holck then reached on a throwing error by Cougars shortstop Jakob Harshman. Both runners scored when Murphy reached on a throwing error by Southview third baseman Kurt Hurley.
Murphy later scored from third on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt by AW designated hitter Austin Drewes for a 5-1 lead.
“A big thing we were focusing on was keeping the games going [offensively],” Theis said. “We get up sometimes in the first couple innings and, in the later innings, we taper off. We’re trying to keep those bats going throughout the whole game.”
The Generals’ final run came when Steve Haugh hit a solo homer to left in the fifth.
Leonard, outside of the three unearned runs in the fourth, was also efficient on the mound. He allowed six hits, and threw 48 of his 71 pitches for strikes.
“You’ve got to give Anthony Wayne credit,” Southview coach Brett Baumgartner said. “They’re always going to be a fundamental team. Very rarely do they beat themselves.
“Our guys knew that coming in. I stressed to them that we can’t play two teams today, and I felt like for a couple innings there we were playing ourselves as well as playing Anthony Wayne.
“We’ll get another shot at them. We have everything still in front of us. We’ll learn from this and put it behind us.”
Contact Steve Junga at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter @JungaBlade.
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