For the Daily Reporter
PENDLETON — Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon are well-acquainted with each other. Playing for the third time in three weeks, Thursday night had more on the line: the winner advanced in the sectional tournament, while the loser saw a promising and successful season abruptly end.
The Cougars came out on top, 5-1. For both teams, however, the story was Adam Hutchison.
Hutchison, the Cougars junior ace, threw a complete game, allowing four hits with eight strikeouts.
“Hutchison threw really well tonight,” Cougars coach Mark Vail said afterwards. “He was really throwing strikes and was in control.”
The Marauders actually struck first, scoring in the third inning on an error after two passed balls allowed Nolan Bowser to reach third base.
The lead did not last long, however. In the bottom of the inning, the Cougars used five singles and aggressive base running to score four runs. Hutchison, Blake Wilson and Brady Mundell each had RBIs for the Cougars in the inning.
After that, only one Marauder would reach second base for the remainder of the game.
“Hutchison is just really good,” Mt. Vernon coach Ryan Carr said. “We had hoped to take some strikes and get to their bullpen, but he just kept throwing strikes.”
The Cougars were able to add an insurance run in the sixth inning, and Hutchison easily retired the Marauders in order to end the game.
“It’s tough,” Carr said. “We had a really great season for only having two seniors. But then you draw Greenfield and Adam’s on the mound, you do what you can. I think this team is definitely going to continue to improve. But who knows, next year we could see him on the mound against us again.”
For Greenfield-Central, a potential issue is that their ace is now unable to pitch for the remainder of the sectional, as his 101-plus pitches require four full days rest per IHSAA rules.
For Vail, he never gave a thought to taking Hutchison out before reaching that cut-off.
“It’s sectional time, and he’s our No. 1 pitcher. You have to win each game,” Vail said. “If we were up 15 runs or something like that then we would have talked about it, but we feel like we’ve got three great pitchers.”
The Cougars will face Anderson in the semifinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. The other semifinal will see Pendleton Heights against Richmond.