Strong pitching, defense and timely hits propel Demons to shutout win

Published 7:18 am Friday, April 1, 2016

Franklinton’s Mack McElveen navigated his way through a fourth-inning jam and then did not allow another base runner for the final three innings of the Demons’ 2-0 victory over Walker at home on a sunsplashed Tuesday afternoon.

Franklinton had a 2-0 lead through three, but Walker got a one-out rally going in the fourth. Kyle Guidry, who had two hits, reached on an infield single. The next hitter, Noah Danburg, singled down the left-field line and took second on the throw to third in an attempt to get courtesy runner Hunter Naquin at third. He slid in safely and the Wildcats had runners at second-and-third with one out.

In a tough spot where giving up just one run wouldn’t be a bad thing, as it would allow the Demons to keep the lead, McElveen did better, striking out the next two hitters and allowing no runs. The Demons’ lead was still two runs.

“It’s just baseball,” McElveen said. “We know that we’re going to get in situations like that. We work on situations like that in practice. We know that pressure can’t get to us. We take it one at bat at a time. We needed one more out to get (to) two outs. That way it takes some pressure off the defense to make a play and that’s what we did — got out of the inning — no runs scored, nobody hurt and really kind of a big momentum for us.”

After McElveen struck out the final two hitters to end the fourth, he did not allow another base runner.

McElveen finished the day, allowing six hits with nine strikeouts and no walks.

“I can’t say enough about the way Mack threw today,” Franklinton coach Jeff Tageant said. “He’s been a bulldog on the mound for us for three years. He’s been one of our best guys. He did get out of some jams, he got some big strikeouts and he got out of some tough situations.”

The Demons also played outstanding defense behind him, as the team played an errorless game.

McElveen credited his fielders on their play.

“Defense is a key to a lot because if you make errors, runners move over and things like that,” McElveen said. “Collin (Dominguez) made a couple of good plays, as well as Wyatt (Verret) and that always helps. That helps a pitcher’s confidence because I know I can trust those guys.”

Franklinton got on the board in the second inning. With one out, Zach Bell and Caleb McKenzie singled. J.J. Jackson drew a walk to load the bases. Jamarian Crain plated Bell with a single to right to make it 1-0. The next hitter Verret then hit a ball to centerfield. Chance Dixon came in and made a diving catch. McKenzie tagged up from third and scored on the play, as Verret got the sacrifice fly and drove in the Demons’ second run to make it 2-0.

After Verret’s sacrifice fly, C.J. Estave drew a walk. Following the walk, Wildcats’ pitcher Guidry did not allow another base runner. He retired the final 13 hitters he faced in a tough-luck loss.

Guidry allowed four hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Estave recorded the other hit he allowed with a first-inning single.

Like the Demons, Walker played an errorless game.

The loss snapped the Demons’ 4-game losing streak. Franklinton is 7-8 this season and seven of the eight losses have been by three runs or fewer.

“It was a big win for us,” Tageant said. “We needed it. We had lost four in a row and we lost two of them by one run, so we’ve been in every game. We were able to get the big hits and defensively, we were able to make some big plays with two outs. I’m proud of the way the guys played today.”