Lovejoy coach Craig Chatman exchanges his lineup card with Mundy's Mill coach Patrick Smith as the home plate umpire looks on before the Region 4-AAAA game Tuesday. (Photo by Derrick Mahone)
Mundy's Mill coach Patrick Smith wasn't quite sure if it was the cool, breezy weather or some hangover last Saturday's loss, but he noted that his fifth-ranked Tigers weren't as "crisp" in their win Tuesday at Lovejoy.
Smith was pleased with the 5-0 Region 4-AAAA victory, but thought the team could have hit a little better in spots and hustled a lot more on the base paths.
"We weren't as crisp as I wanted us to be," Smith said. "Some balls were hit hard, but they just didn't get into the gaps. Defensively, I would like for us to be a little more crisp. We didn't hustle like I wanted us to."
But the coach did note the pitching performance of Corey Harmon, who went the distance. The junior scattered four hits over seven innings and struck out five while walking three Lovejoy batters. He was 1 of 3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning.
Harmon's singled scored freshman Rodney Smith who also had a base hit to reach. With the RBI, Mundy's Mill took a 1-0 lead.
"I sort of expected that kind of pitching performance, I'm not trying to brag," Harmon said. "I just knew I had a good defense behind me. The only thing that really mattered is that we got the "W"."
Said Smith: "It was a great pitching performance. He was sort of overpowering. Corey looked good with all four of his pitches. There was not enough urgency on the defense."
With the win, Mundy's Mill improves to 14-2 overall and 11-0 in the region. The Tigers were coming off a six-inning loss to unranked Redan on Saturday. Lovely dropped to 13-5 and 8-4 as they continue to chase one of the top two playoff spots in hopes of hosting a first-round playoff game.
The teams meet again on April 22 at Mundy's Mill. After the game being postponed four times because of inclement weather, both coaches were finally happy to play.
Lovely coach Craig Chatman acknowledged that Harmon had a dominating performance.
"Their guy was outstanding out there," he said. "I thought our pitcher pitched well enough to win. We just ran into a buzz saw out there."
This was the Wildcats first game in 11 days because of a week off for spring break last week. But Chatman refused to use that as an excuse.
Lovejoy starter Xavier Anthony went five innings and had a strikeout and give up four runs. Wildcats reliever Kendall Clark pitched the finally two innings and surrendered three hits and a run.
The Wildcats have a crucial game against Jonesboro today. Jonesboro is in third place in the region standings with a 6-3 record in the league. Lovejoy won the first meeting 11-4 on March 11.
"Every game from here on out is important," Chatman said. "Everybody wants that good seeding for the state tournament. We know every game is crucial. Our guys understand the deal."
Mundy's Mill has eight more games remaining, including today's match up at Mount Zion.
"We got about three weeks left before the playoffs," Smith said. "Teams are starting to make their move."