WELLMAN — Getting thrown out on the base paths is never a good thing. That is, unless you channel the anger of getting thrown out into a superb pitching performance on the mound.
That is what Keegan Gingerich did for the Mid-Prairie High School baseball team Tuesday at Paul N. Bailey Field.
Gingerich gave up a couple hard-hit balls and two runs, one on a wild pitch, in his first inning of pitching against Class 4A Muscatine. He got a hit in the bottom of the first, but made the third out when he was thrown out at second base. He proceeded to shut down the Muskies over the next four innings.
“Those first couple hits were absolutely hammered, so it takes a lot of moxie to keep your composure and go out there and do your job,” Mid-Prairie coach Andy Greiner said. “keegan is a good pitcher and that was obvious tonight.”
Gingerich finished his five innings of pitching by setting down nine on strikeouts while allowing two hits and three walks.
His performance gave the Golden Hawks a 6-4 victory over Muscatine. The Muskies came back in the second game to take a 13-3 win in five innings.
Gingerich did not allow a hit after those two in the first inning.
“When I got thrown out at second, I was mad at myself, so I just went out there and did the best I could,” Gingerich said.
He used his anger and converted it into adrenaline.
“My fastball was working good, inside and high,” Gingerich said. “My curveball was going good, the slider some, but the changeup was working for me, too.”
It is nice when a hurler has a whole array of pitches that are effective at his disposal.
“Giving up those early hits just made me want to work harder,” Gingerich said. “So I just kept pushing myself.”
He didn’t get to the batter’s box again until the fourth inning, which was when the Golden Hawks scored all six of their runs. Gingerich drew a lead-off walk, stole second and scored the first Mid-Prairie run of the game on Colton Hobbs’ two-run single. Brad Tornow, who was a combined 4 for 6 on the night with two doubles, drove in two more runs in the inning. Hobbs scored on an overthrow to second base when Ashton Bush was stealing. Gingerich drove in the sixth run with a single in his second at-bat of the fourth inning.
“Getting the hits while I’m pitching is no big deal, it’s just being a baseball player,” Gingerich said. “Playing a 4A school just made us want to prove ourselves.”
The sixth inning ended when Cale Robertson, who was 2 for 3, tried to score on Gingerich’s single.
The Golden Hawks returned the favor in the top of the next inning and got Muscatine out on a rundown between second and third bases.
Vinny Bowlin came on in relief of Gingerich in the sixth inning and gave up back-to-back triples. He also gave up a double as the Muskies scored twice but he ended the sixth on a strikeout and finished the game off for the save.
Greiner was undecided about being happy with a split against a large school like Muscatine.
“I’m not upset with the way we played,” he said. “Overall, our body of work was good. A lot of kids had some courageous efforts tonight. We are not thrilled about splitting, especially losing the second game in five. We got a lot of people who are dinged up and playing through some pain right now.”
The Hawks were coming off of a split the previous night at River Valley Conference foe Iowa City Regina, losing 11-2 but winning 11-10. Winning pitcher Tornow pitched 6 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts, six hits, two walks and one unearned run allowed.
“I thought we bounced back well after being on the road last night,” Greiner said. “We held back some pitchers against Regina so that we would have four tonight. We really felt like we had a chance to take both games. I am pretty happy with tonight’s effort.”
Mid-Prairie is 7-5 overall, 5-3 RVC.
“We do feel like we are going to be in a lot of games, a lot of close games,” Greiner said.
The Hawks were scheduled to play at Camanche Thursday, but that will be rescheduled because of a funeral for a Mid-Prairie student who died last week.
The Hawks will play at West Branch Monday.