Some early-inning small-ball combined with another brilliant pitching performance was the recipe for the McDowell Titans in Friday night’s 4-1 road win at Alexander Central.
The victory capped off a very promising week for the Titans as they improved to 2-0 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference.
One of the big keys to McDowell’s success on Friday went back to starting pitching. Senior Dusty Revis was outstanding on the mound just three days after teammate Chapel Matson’s five-inning perfect game Tuesday against Watauga.
Revis went the distance against the Cougars on Friday, tossing 98 pitches and allowing an earned run on four hits. Revis struck out 12 batters and walked none. So far in 12 innings played, the Titan pitching staff has not allowed any bases on balls.
“Hits don’t hurt you, but hits combined with extra base runners via the walk can be very damaging,” said McDowell head coach Alex Smith. “Our staff has been really outstanding this week not giving the opposition any extra chances.”
The only run allowed came in the bottom of the first, but otherwise, Revis settled in and got stronger as the game progressed. He allowed hits in the first two frames but only two more hits came in innings three through seven. In addition, 11 of the 12 punch-outs also came after the third inning, including four in the bottom of the seventh when one of the batters reached on a dropped third strike.
Revis’ effort was enough to offset solid pitching from Alexander Central. J.D. Little took the loss, going 4 2/3 innings and allowing four runs, three of them unearned, on just one hit. Little recorded 11 strikeouts. Little did walk six batters in the contest. The free passes, along with three Cougar errors gave the Titans’ offense just enough chances to break through, which for Smith was encouraging as well.
“One of the things we talked about as a team as the season started was can we do the small things to produce runs?” he said. “Pitching in this league is strong and you’re not always going to get a lot of hits. Doing the things like sacrificing, reading balls in the dirt, etc., you’ve got to be able to do in order to score runs and win games.”
Manufacturing runs is exactly what the Titans were able to do in the first off Little. Revis earned a leadoff walk. Then, Chapel Matson on a sacrifice bunt reached when Little made an errant throw that went into right field. Revis, hustling on the play, circled the diamond and scored from first to put McDowell ahead 1-0. Then with two outs in the first, Michael Lewis reached on an infield error, the second of the inning by Alexander Central, allowing Matson to cross home making it 2-0.
Central got its only run off Revis in the next half inning. Catcher Blake Hartness reached on an error. Hartness advanced to second on a wild pitch and eventually scored on a one-out single to right by Mason Chapman-Mays, putting the Cougars on the board.
In the top of the second McDowell earned three walks off Little. With the bases loaded and two outs, Matson scored from third on a wild pitch giving McDowell its runs back to increase the lead back by a pair.
The lone McDowell hit of the game came in the fifth and it was a timely one. Matson reached on a three-base error, this time by right fielder Caleb Williams, the third error committed by Alexander Central in the game. Then, on a 2-2 count, Three Young dropped a hit into center, scoring Matson to make it 4-1.
That insurance run really boosted the Titans as Revis finished off the Cougars with six strikeouts combined in the last three frames and only one ball that got out of the infield the rest of the night.
McDowell returns home on Tuesday in a key 4A battle with South Caldwell.