On an evening when a constant drizzle slicked the field and made every groundball an adventure at Joe Cannon Stadium, strikeouts were at a premium during Wednesday night's District V title game.
Reservoir pitchers got 12 of them, and Old Mill pitchers didn't get any. So it was no surprise that the Gators won, 3-1, behind the power arms of freshman Cody Morris and senior Lee Lawler.
Morris struck out seven in five innings of work before turning the ball over to Lawler, who retired all six batters he faced — five of them on punchouts — to earn the save.
"I was a little nervous but I got the jitters out and just pitched, I didn't really think about it," Morris said. "I had no problem handing the ball over to Lee because he's a great pitcher and I have complete faith that he'll close it out."
The original plan was to use three pitchers on Wednesday, but Reservoir coach Adam Leader said that Morris was so efficient there was no need to go deep into the bullpen.
"We did what we wanted to do. We had Cody come out and kept his pitch count down real low and kept rolling, and then we brought Lee in to get some work," Leader said. "We couldn't have drawn it up any better. Without the rain would have been nice."
Without the benefit of strikeouts, Old Mill's defense struggled to make plays, resulting in six errors, one in every inning except for the seventh, and two unearned runs.
“They put the ball in play and we didn’t,” Old Mill coach Jeff Martin said. “With the conditions like they were you’ve got to make teams make plays and we just didn’t do it.”
Reservoir scored in the first inning when Lawler (hit by pitch) went from second base to home on a two-out throwing error and again in the fifth when Lawler led off with an infield single, advanced on a fielder's choice and another throwing error, and then scored on a sac fly by Ben Summers. Reservoir added to its lead in the seventh when Summers plated Bryan Davidson (leadoff single) with another sac fly.
Old Mill got its run in the third when Jordan Taylor reached base on a bunt, took second on a passed ball, stole third and scored when the throw from the plate sailed into left field.
Despite all of the defensive miscues, Old Mill starter Guy Wharton delivered a gutty performance, allowing two unearned runs, three walks and one hit through six innings of work, leaving nine Gators on base.
The win was Reservor's 20th in a row after losing to Centennial on opening day. The Gators have won 41 of their last 43 games since the start of the 2011 season, including the last two Howard County championships and District V titles.
Re (20-1) 100 010 1 - 3 3 1
OM (18-3) 001 000 0 - 1 2 6
Morris, Lawler (6) and O'Hagan. Wharton, Bohle (7), Owens (7) and Ratzburg.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times