Players on the Hickman baseball team might have been wondering if they would ever surrender another hit.
After Kewpies pitchers threw back-to-back no-hitters, junior pitcher Casey McIntosh had spectators thinking perfection midway through Hickman’s 12-4 win against Mexico.
McIntosh was dominant at times Thursday in the first home game of Hickman’s highly-anticipated season, at one point notching eight straight strikeouts. Mexico didn’t have a baserunner until Bulldogs catcher Jeff Smith singled on a two-strike hanging curveball in the fifth inning.
“You can’t do anything about those little dinker hits that they’ll get,” McIntosh said. “I just try to keep throwing strikes.”
McIntosh finished with 12 strikeouts, allowing three earned runs on four hits.
“I was real impressed (with McIntosh), he had great command early in the ballgame,” Hickman coach Dave Wilson said. “It’s something I expect out of him.”
Courtesy of some timely hitting and shaky Hickman defense, Mexico managed to turn its first baserunner into a four-run rally that gave the Bulldogs a tentative 4-3 lead in the fifth.
“We just came in (the dugout) and said, ‘there’s no need to panic. We continue to hit the ball hard and they’re going to find holes,’” Wilson said.
The Kewpies (5-0) found holes aplenty over the next two innings, scoring nine runs on eight hits and securing a win for McIntosh (2-0).
“It’s easy to relax when you have this lineup,” McIntosh said.
“You never panic."
Quite literally leading the offensive charge was shortstop Kyle Smith, who scored three runs out of the leadoff spot.
“What he’s doing in the leadoff role has been outstanding,” Wilson said. “That’s what we need out of Kyle and (second baseman) Chad Hatcher up at the top of the order, if they get on base we feel like we’ve got some guys that can drive people home.”
Hatcher went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while third baseman Justin Jackson added pop, driving in two runs on two well-struck doubles.
Hickman’s late-inning offensive prowess proved crucial against Mexico (1-1) where it hadn’t been necessary during the past two games as Kewpies pitchers no-hit their opponents.
Senior Tyler Asche began the no-hit parade on March 23, shutting down The John Copper School (Woodland, Tex.) in an 11-1 win at the Cocoa Expo Sports Center Spring Break Baseball Bash in Cocoa, Fla.
Then, senior Steven Boyer threw a no-hitter in Monday’s 22-0 win against Southern Boone, which ended after five innings.
“I mean that doesn’t happen very often,” Wilson said of the consecutive no-hitters.
“Our pitchers and what they’re doing is they’re going out and throwing strikes early in the count,” he said. “When you get ahead of hitters it makes it really tough.”
The balance the Kewpies possess is exciting many of Hickman’s fans and it’s not difficult to see why. Hickman boasts a rotation with at least four explosive options and a tremendous offense responsible for 62 runs in five games.
“(If) we just keep hitting the ball hard and just keep throwing strikes,” McIntosh said. “It’s going to be hard to beat us.”