Highlanders blitz Ike for series sweep
The contest was slightly closer, but the result much the same.
MacArthur rode the pitching of Zac DeLong and took advantage of critical errors by Eisenhower to beat their westside rivals for the second time in two days, 11-3, on Tuesday.
All told, its was the Highlanders' third victory over the Eagles this season. And although all the games have been won by eight or more runs, the latest edition of the rivalry was closer than the previous two.
The game got off to a familiar tone with the Highlanders scoring early. Jack Smith's single in the first drove in two runs and Rylan Webb's sacrifice fly brought in a third. In the second inning, it appeared as if Eisenhower might get out unscathed after getting two outs. But Alex Young walked Trey Longacre and Michelle Artzberger drove in Colby Flood on a double, with Longacre scoring on a throwing error later in the play.
Meanwhile, the Eagles had a hard time getting anything going against Zac DeLong. The junior pitcher struck out seven in 4.1 innings and gave up no hits. However, with three walks and 75 pitches to his name, DeLong was pulled by his father, Mac coach Rodney DeLong, in favor of reliever Brad Hoskins in the fifth inning. Rodney DeLong said it was a tough decision that was made primarily to preserve Zac for the McAlester Shootout.
"I didn't want to take him out because I really thought he had a chance at a no-hitter," Rodney DeLong said. "I thought he was really special. He was at 75 so we can bring him back on Friday and match him up against Bishop Kelley."
Hoskins gave up the first Ike hit of the night, an RBI single by Brayden Halberg in the fifth, and then walked Robert Rodriguez to load the bases. But Hoskins recouped and struck out leadoff man Tre Harris before getting Connor Collins to groundout to end the inning. DeLong said that while stressful situations like that might have unnerved his team previously, they have proven themselves capable of handling those moments better this season.
"Last year, I felt like pressure got to us when we were in tight situations, and we couldn't pitch our way out of it," DeLong said. "This year, we're still relaxed out there, making good quality pitches and we find a way to get out of an inning."