PORTSMOUTH — Cruz McFadden was on cruise control, and indeed was bringing the heat to Portsmouth Post 23.
Meanwhile, as the atmosphere kept cranking up the humidity, the visiting Shockers kept cranking out runs and hits and free passes —and turned Wednesday’s baseball battle into a lopsided runaway.
For the third time this summer in as many meetings, the Post 142 Shockers notched a win over Post 23 —as on Wednesday they scored their most decisive victory to date, capturing an 11-1 rolling inside a sweltering Branch Rickey Park.
With the win, the Shockers are now 9-7.
In their two June affairs, Waverly won 6-1 as part of the Hillsboro Wooden Bat Tournament —prior to a 2-0 triumph in a classic pitchers’ duel at Piketon High School.
In those two tilts, Jacob Mathews in the first game and Lane Mettler in the second simply had the Seniors crossed-up.
On Wednesday, it was McFadden’s turn, as the Paint Valley High School standout —with temperatures in the mid-90s —struck out 11 Seniors in tossing a complete-game three-hitter with only two walks and no earned runs.
He faced the Post 23 lineup three times through, and needed only a tidy two hours to make short work of the hosts.
McFadden’s only blemish and serious Seniors threat was in the second stanza —when Case Dyer and Chase Conley came up with back-to-back one-out singles to center, and Dyer scored from second on the Shockers’ only error.
He faced four batters apiece in the first and third frames, then met the minimum three over the final four —retiring the Seniors 1-2-3 in the fourth, fifth and seventh.
The only other hit McFadden allowed was a Seth Nichols one-out single in the first, as the only other Portsmouth baserunners — Braden Horr with two outs in the third and Jaden Jessee to lead off the sixth — benefited from walks.
McFadden stranded four Post 23 runners —Nichols (first inning), Conley (second), Horr (third) and Hunter Thomas (second) — over the first three innings, and got Portsmouth to hit into a 5-4-3 double play in the sixth.
He struck out two apiece in the opening, middle and closing innings —and racked up three strikeouts while stranding a pair in the second.
“Cruz showed today. Anytime you have somebody come out and throw like that, it really sets the tone for the team, the game and the atmosphere. He had a really good day. Cruz is special and just has natural talent. I think the hardest pitch he threw the whole game was his 44th pitch,” said Post 142 coach Jonathan Teeters. “He got better and stronger as the game went on.”
As the game went on, the Shockers extended their lead in each inning — as the closest Post 23 came after the initial at-bat was a 3-1 deficit following two complete.
The Shockers scored at least once in every inning except the fifth, which was starting Portsmouth pitcher Elias Robson’s final frame —following facing 29 batters and allowing six runs on 10 hits with three walks while striking out three.
Waverly scored twice against Robson in the first and fourth, as his only unearned runs were in the fourth following Portsmouth’s first of three errors.
Against reliever Cade McNeil for the final two, the Shockers scored four times on two hits in the sixth — batting around and taking advantage of Post 23’s other two errors and three walks allowed, combined with a Michael Goodman sacrifice fly for the 10th run.
In the seventh, Kannon Pack was hit by a pitch to lead off, then Mathews came off the bench and bashed a double to left-center — plating Pack for the 11th and final Shocker marker.
Waverly — with Portsmouth’s pitching pair issuing eight free passes — wound up with 14 hits, including two RBI-doubles by Easton Lansing and one regular two-bagger by Goodman.
Lansing led the way with three hits and two runs batted in, while Mettler muscled a 3-for-3 day with three RBI and three runs scored.
Mettler’s sac fly in the first followed by Lansing’s two-out RBI-double on the next at-bat proved to be all Waverly would need for the win.
Pack and Goodman both went 2-for-4 as Pack scored three times and Goodman drove in two.
Weston Roop and Logan Maynard managed a hit apiece, and both scored twice.
Maynard and J.T. Barnett both walked twice, as Barnett was credited for a pair of RBI.
“Offensively, we had a very good approach. We had a lot of guys in the hit and quality at-bat column. Honestly, this was one of the better games we’ve played all summer of the 16 so far. I was very pleased with how we did tonight,” said Teeters.
And it all started, and ended, with Cruz being on cruise control —and bringing the heat.
The Shockers return home to host Hillsboro on Saturday at Waverly with an 11 a.m. doubleheader.
It is also Post 142’s annual Veterans Appreciation Day.
Speaking of Hillsboro, Post 23 was scheduled to host Post 129 on Thursday.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved