The Hickman baseball team knelt on the outfield grass after beating St. Charles 2-0 on Saturday at home.
Hickman coach Dave Wilson was giving his postgame speech. Wilson finished and tossed the game ball to senior Casey McIntosh.
It was well-deserved. McIntosh had battled the entire game. In the seventh, he surrendered a double to the Pirates’ Nick Gumm. The ball curved down the right field line and landed fair by a few feet. Perhaps giving up the hit was a case of nerves. McIntosh, who says he approaches pitching one batter at a time, could have been distracted. After all, he had a no-hitter going at that point. He said he felt a tinge of disappointment when Gumm reached base, but then he finished off the Pirates.
McIntosh was masterful. Aside from the double, he allowed only one other baserunner when he walked St. Charles’ Adam Roth in the third. Wilson said he had seen McIntosh pitch well before, but the game stood out as a bright point in McIntosh’s high school career.
“It was my best outing at Hickman so far,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh said his arm was feeling good after going the entire seven innings, and that he was pleased he could throw a complete game. He said he had excellent command of his curveball and fastball and good movement on his pitches. Wilson said his changeup had a good break and downward angle, and that McIntosh, who missed the last half of last season and all of his summer season with an inflamed nerve in his pitching arm, returned to his pre-injury form.
The standout defensive play of sophomore third baseman James Hudelson aided the pitching effort.
Hudelson threw out six Pirates at first base. In the second, he charged up to snag a slow, bouncing ground ball off the grass, grabbed the ball out of his glove and gunned out the Pirates’ Justin Riley.
But that play paled in comparison to the catch he made to get the first out in the seventh.
St. Charles’ batter, Jonathan Wilson, drilled a ground ball into the gap between Hudelson and shortstop Colin Kemble. Hudelson strained and dove, catching the ball. He threw the runner out to complete the play.
Hudelson said he had a good week practicing defense, so when he came into the game, he felt confident. Although he said he wanted to play harder because McIntosh was pitching so well, he didn’t feel pressured. And after making two of the last three outs, Hudelson didn’t appear to be either.