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Millennium baseball aiming for playoff return
Submitted by Shane McOwen on Wed, 03/15/2017 - 12:00am
Millennium baseball produced an eight-run inning, and survived a late rally March 10 to push past visiting Phoenix Brophy, 9-6.
Millennium’s victory moved the team’s record to 6-3, and 3-1 in power-points games.
“The players had great approaches throughout the game,” Millennium coach Ryan Bethel said. “Brophy is obviously no slouch. Coach [Tom] Succow over there, I’ve been a fan of his since I was 10 years old. It’s a good win for us.”
After Brophy tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the third, the Tigers exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the frame to take a commanding 9-1 lead. Millennium wasn’t able to add the additional two-runs to end the game by run rule, and nearly paid for it in the sixth inning.
Millennium sophomore pitcher Deon Reese had been effective for 5.2 innings before hitting two Brophy batters and surrendering a two-run double to Drew Dyer, cutting the lead to 9-3. Ethan Garland replaced Reese, giving up two hits without retiring a batter, and was subbed by sophomore Robbie Schmidt, who squashed the remaining threat and pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the save.
“With the pitch count system, [Reese] is just a sophomore and only gets 95 pitches total, where as a junior or senior gets 105,” Bethel said. “He was at 87 or 88, so we went with the switch, and it turned out all right.”
The Tigers’ offensive output was strung together with multiple timely hits. Only one of the team’s 14 hits went for extra bases.
“We scored eight runs in one inning, but then we kind of pumped the brakes a little bit,” Bethel said. “You’d like to see it keep going.”
Senior Michael Garverick, junior Logan McDonald and sophomores Alex Figueroa, David Enriquez and Reese each had multi-hit games against Brophy. Figueroa went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Millennium is in the middle of a 10-day layoff of game action before diving into 10 contests in 10 days to close out March, a stretch that includes the Coach Bob National Invitational. Bethel said he feels his team is in a good spot heading into a congested portion of the schedule.
“It’s fair to say we’ve been playing well,” he said. “We’re young. We have four sophomores that play pretty much every day, [but] our senior leadership is through the roof. I can honestly say that there’s a different guy stepping up every game. Kids are in the game in the dugout. They want each other to succeed. It’s just a blast to coach this team.”
Millennium missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009. Bethel said the team has its eye set on returning to the state tournament, and is confident in its chances.
“We’ve got a good club, and players that love playing and love playing with each other,” he said. “Obviously, the goal is to get back to the playoffs and go from there.”
Bethel said the team needs to continue improving its offensive output to make a run during region play.
“It’s always going to be scoring more runs,” he said. “Our pitching staff has been tremendous, throwing strikes. We just have to keep scoring runs.”
Millennium’s next contest will be March 20 at Phoenix Maryvale.
Shane McOwen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ShaneMcOwen.
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