Red-hot Starr's Mill wins fifth straight, 6-4 over Whitewater

Wed, 04/16/2008 - 8:57pm
By: Kevin Wandra

Starr’s Mill coach Brent Moseley wanted to spend part of his son Ben’s fourth birthday celebrating a victory over one of his team’s biggest Region 2-AAAA rivals, Whitewater.

It didn’t look good early for Starr’s Mill, which fell behind 4-1 after three innings.

But the Panthers rallied, scoring four runs on two-out hits, and Drew Johnson shut down the Wildcats the rest of the way as they pulled out their fifth consecutive victory, 6-4 Wednesday in Fayetteville.

The victory more than made Moseley a happy father on his youngest son’s birthday. It, for the time being, moved Starr’s Mill (12-7, 9-2 region) into sole possession of second place in the region.

Should Northgate (11-7, 8-2 region) defeat Whitewater tomorrow, though, it will be tied with Starr’s Mill for second in the region.

The loss dropped Whitewater to 14-6 overall and 5-5 in the region. The Wildcats are currently in fifth place in the region.

Whitewater roughed up Johnson in the first three innings, scoring four runs on seven hits.

The Wildcats scored a run each on an infield single by Austin Faulkner in the top of the first inning and a throwing error in the second inning.

Then Miles Head ripped a two-out RBI double down the third base line in the second inning for a 3-1 lead.

Hayden Jordan’s RBI double to deep center field made it 4-1 in the third.

Starr’s Mill’s lone run in the first two innings came on a sacrifice fly to center field by Miles Jaye in the first inning.

The error bug bit Whitewater in the third, as a throwing miscue allowed Starr’s Mill to cut The Wildcats’ lead in half, 4-2.

Starr’s Mill went on to win the game with two-out hits; Ed Cook hit a first-pitch, two-out, two-run single to center field in the fourth, and Danny Beadling lined a two-out, go-ahead RBI single to right field in the fifth.

Ken Jackson’s two-out RBI single in the sixth completed the scoring for the Panthers.

The bats fueled Starr’s Mill’s comeback, but if it weren’t for Johnson’s ability to shake off a tough start, it could have been a long night for the Panthers.

After giving up Jordan’s run-scoring hit, Johnson settled down and got stronger as the game went along; he didn’t allow another baserunner until the seventh, when he walked Travis Dingler.

Heine Rivera followed with a single to left field, placing runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh, but Johnson struck out Faulkner swinging to secure the victory for the Panthers.

Johnson struck out eight and allowed four runs (two earned), two walks, eight hits and one hit batsman for the complete-game victory.

Moseley thought Johnson was nervous, partly because he was pitching in front of his mother, who is a teacher at Whitewater.

“This is the biggest start Drew has ever had,” Moseley said. “He was tight. He didn’t let it loose like he normally does. He battled like crazy, though, and that’s what he had to do.

“His mom is a teacher at Whitewater, so it was tough for him. But he did a great job.”

Johnson also was effective at the plate for Starr’s Mill, going 2-for-4. He was one of three Panthers players who had two hits; Jackson (2-for-4, one RBI) and Beadling (2-for-3, one RBI) were the others.

Stellar defense aided the Panthers in their victory, as well. Right fielder Jackson made three sensational catches, including two that he dove to snag, and second baseman Bryan Hasse made an exceptional diving catch of a ball hit by Head that glanced off the mitt of first baseman Michael Jeanes in the seventh.

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