Demons blank Lakeshore to advance

Published 8:35 am Friday, April 29, 2016

Franklinton advanced to the regional round of the Class 4A state playoffs with a 2-0 victory over Lakeshore at home Tuesday night.

Mack McElveen pitched a gem, but in the top of sixth inning, the senior suffered a non-contact knee injury during a rundown and had to be helped off the field. Franklinton coach Jeff Tageant said McElveen has a sprained knee. As of Thursday morning, Tageant said McElveen’s status for this weekend is pending.

“First of all, if you’ve never been around Mack McElveen, he’s one of the best kids around,” Tageant said. “He’s just a fine Christian young man. He wants to go into ministry. Every time we get on the bus to leave on a trip, he prays with the team before we leave.”

McElveen threw 5-2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

The injury meant a couple of changes for the Demons. Designated hitter Caleb McKenzie, who said he wasn’t expecting to pitch, took the mound. With the DH going in, that meant the Demons now had no designated hitter. McKenzie started as the DH for Trent Varnado, who played an errorless third base Tuesday, but with McKenzie going from DH to pitcher, Varnado had to come out and Davin Green went to third and was the hitter in McElveen’s spot had they reached that part of the order.

McKenzie took the mound with an 0-1 count on Clarke Rush.

“I came in with two outs, one strike on the batter and nobody on base, so I knew that if I threw strikes, my team would help me out,” McKenzie said. “They were relying on me whenever I was relying on them.”

Rush ended up singling, but McKenzie got the next hitter to ground into a force play.

In the bottom of the frame, the Demons added an insurance run and McKenzie started the rally.

McKenzie helped the offense by doubling toward the left field line with one out. Courtesy runner Austin Miller advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on another to make it a 2-0 contest.

Lakeshore’s Preston Bohn, who earlier doubled, reached on a bunt single, but McKenzie struck out the next hitter, which was followed by a forced out at second and a pop out to end the game.

McKenzie picked up the save after throwing 1-1/3 innings, allowing two hits and striking out one.

“I can’t say enough about Caleb,” Tageant said. “Caleb came in and shut the door.”

Franklinton’s scored its other run in the first inning.

Jamarian Crain, who had three hits, beat out an infield single to the shortstop. He advanced to second on a passed ball and went to third when C.J. Estave grounded out for the second out. After McElveen walked, Collin Dominguez singled to right field, plating Crain with the game’s first run.

“He threw me a curveball, which was pretty high, I took it. He threw me a meaty fastball and I just drove it the opposite way, hoping to get the job done,” Dominguez said.

Also for 10th-seeded Franklinton offensively, McElveen and Tanner Sanburn both singled.

The Demons move to 14-8 this season. Franklinton plays a best-of-3 series with No. 26 Salmen in the regional. The first game is this evening at 6 p.m. Game 2 is at 2 p.m. tomorrow and if necessary, the clubs will play the third game after the second contest.

The Spartans were victorious over seventh-seeded St. Thomas More.

Lakeshore finishes the year with a 15-14 record.

Cody Doucette was the hard-luck losing pitcher. He threw six innings, which was a complete game since FHS did not bat in the seventh, allowing two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and seven walks.

Rush finished with two hits and Jacob Bernard had one hit.