Baseball: Jack McLaughlin throws gem, Lane clinches conference
Updated: May 9, 2012 8:37PM
To throw a complete-game shutout a pitcher usually needs the right combination of control, defense, luck and the ability to mix pitches. Lane’s Jack McLaughlin had all of the above on Wednesday as he allowed just two hits in a 1-0 masterpiece over Clemente at Horner Park.
The win clinches the Jackie Robinson North title for Lane (16-11, 12-0), which defeated Clemente (15-5, 9-3) for the first time in three years.
“I felt it today,’’ McLaughlin said. “It felt good to finally beat these guys and a lot of incentive to pitch well.’’
Lane, which has a rich baseball tradition, was able to get to Clemente pitcher Jonathan Figueroa early, but didn’t push across a run until the third inning. The Indians loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but Figueroa’s second strikeout ended the threat.
Lane got the game’s only run in the bottom of the third. Matt Delanty led off the inning with his second single of the game. His second stolen base put him on second for Ari Harris, who roped a single to center field. Delanty slid into home for the game’s only tally.
McLaughlin started the game by retiring the first eight Wildcats he faced. After two of the next three hitters singled, the junior retired the next 12 to end the game. He finished with six strikeouts and no walks.
“Jack, in the conference, doesn’t even have a 0.7 ERA,’’ Lane coach Dean Stavrakas said. “He’s been extraordinary, not even throwing 70 pitches in a complete game today. His control is phenomenal and [he] doesn’t waste pitches.’’
After struggling early, Figueroa calmed down and allowed only two hits while striking out four of the next six Indian hitters after the allowing the run. The sophomore finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed five hits — all singles. Figueroa struck out the side in the second and third innings.
“It is amazing to win conference,’’ McLaughlin sad. “We’ve struggled recently, finishing third last year and lower the year or two before. We have a tradition of being the ‘School of Champions,’ so it was good to get this one.’’