Shepherd tames Bobcats with Wilson, Potts silencing bats
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Simply put, strikes from your pitcher win games. Those strikes don’t have to be 90-mph fast balls, knee-buckling curveballs or even dancing knuckleballs.
They just have to be strikes. Nearly every team playing at any level of baseball needs the opponent’s help to score runs and win games. Those teams don’t boast of lineups that have masterful hitters from no. 1 to no. 9 in the batting order. They need walks, hit batters or a plethora of errors and mental mistakes, as well as passed balls, wild pitches or stolen bases to win.
Beginning its Mountain East Conference schedule on March 16, Shepherd used the baseball primer that could have been penned by Abner Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright to defeat visiting West Virginia Wesleyan in a doubleheader sweep of the Bobcats, 4-1 and 9-1.
Shepherd pitchers Mitchell Wilson and Ryan Potts worked a combined total of 14 innings in twin complete game efforts, and they issued only one walk and no hit batsmen between them.
Wilson’s first game effort was particularly welcomed on an afternoon when the temperature wouldn’t go any higher than 46 degrees and the constant wind was whipping through Fairfax Field as a reminder the calendar said it was mid-March.
Lasting only one hour and 32 minutes, the game was over before eyes were blurred by wind-produced tears and fingers were numbed by the cold.
Wilson yielded six hits and fanned four. He had three up-and-down-in-order innings and only rarely saw any pitch hit with authority off him.
Shepherd managed seven hits, but received three walks or hit batters and batted only six times, instead of the nine times if trailing on the road in conference tournament games.
The top of the Shepherd batting order (Jared Carr, Brenton Doyle and Justin Smith) were a combined 2-for-11, so the Rams had trouble scoring. Trenton Burgreen was on base three times for the Rams.
In the nightcap, Potts was particularly dominant after the first inning. After surrendering a run in the first, Potts was in command, finishing with nine strikeouts and allowing just four hits in all.
His only walk came in the seventh after the Rams had managed an eight-run lead.
Potts struck out at least one batter in every inning.
Carr went 3-for-4, scored three runs and collected two doubles. Christian Hamel was 2-for-3, was on base three times and scored two runs. Syeed Mahti homered, was 2-for-3 and produced three RBIs.
The Rams had a three-run first inning and a five-run fourth.
Strikes were the currency of the blustery afternoon. And Wilson and Potts were the owners of that baseball currency.