Photo by Gabriel Stovall
Mount Zion senior pitcher Kenneth Wiggins returned to action in high fashion, tossing nine strikeouts in the Bulldogs’ 4-1 win over Drew.
JONESBORO — Kenneth Wiggins made his presence felt in his first game back for Mount Zion since the start of the season.
The senior pitcher/shortstop pitched a complete game, while tossing nine strikeouts, effectively silencing the Drew bats as the Mount Zion defeated the Titans 4-1 in a Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A contest Friday.
In addition to his dominance on the mound, Wiggins also showed up at the plate. He drove in Mount Zion’s last run when he knocked a double to left center that brought home Sam Glickman.
The 2012 All-Region 4-AAAA performer said it didn’t take him long to feel right at home on the field again. Wiggins was out the last five games for disciplinary reasons.
“It felt great to be out there tonight again,” Wiggins said. “I knew it would take me a little bit to get my plate rhythm back. But being on the mound just comes naturally for me.”
Winning is also starting to become natural for Mount Zion — at least the expectation to win is. The Bulldogs won their second straight and will be looking for three in a row as they play at Stockbridge on Saturday at 2 p.m.
But even in victory, coach Kelcey White said he sees enough room for improvement to postpone any lingering feelings of satisfaction.
“We needed this second win in our region,” White said. “It was a big game for us. We didn’t play a great game, but we still did what we needed to do. Drew is a much improved team.”
Drew, under coach Brian Paige, won its season opener for the first time in the program’s four-year history. They scored 10 runs in that win over Riverdale, and followed it up with an 11-0 win against Forest Park two weeks later.
But the Titans couldn’t find an answer for Wiggins’ arm, or for the stout defensive effort the Bulldogs provided.
Sophomore third baseman Aaron Harris made perhaps the defensive play of the game on the last play of the night.
Harris dove to snag a screamer that was hit down the third base line, then recovered enough to throw out the Drew batter across the field at first. Then as another Titan runner tried to advance to second, Harris got in position and was able to tag him out.
Harris said the play was just and example of his baseball instincts kicking in.
“I knew I had the bounce for the backhand when the ball came my way,” Harris said. “And then after that, I was just looking for the runner.”
Harris went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs driven in the second inning to put Mount Zion up 2-0. Reginald Vaughn later added another run as he came home after an errant pitch.
Harris said that the belief to compete with any team in their region is becoming contagious.
“We are real confident right now as a team,” he said. “We felt like we should’ve scored more runs tonight, but we played good and kept our head in the game. If we keep our heads in the games we’re confident of what we can do.”
White said that his team, while still growing, is starting to show some of the intangible signs of his favorite Major League squad.
“I’m from St. Louis, so I’m a Cardinals fan,” White said. “And in those days, they were all about pitching, defense and timely hitting. I’m seeing that from our guys. And we’ll see if we can keep it going tomorrow against Stockbridge.”