In a game that flipped between a hitting and pitching showcase, No. 6 Middletown held on for a 5-4 win at No. 1 Appoquinimink Thursday afternoon.
Aces Ryan Steckline and Luke Wootten made the starts for Appoquinimink and Middletown, respectively, and both started strongly in the first inning, before running into issues in the next two frames.
Devin McClendon broke the deadlock for Middletown in the 2nd when his single brought home Spencer Harbert and Jacob Walls, who connected in infield singles to lead off the inning.
After a Wootten sacrifice bunt, Kyle Schneider’s RBI single to left pushed the game to 3-0.
Appoquinimink equalized the game in the bottom half of the inning, using a Joey Davis RBI single, a double-steal, and John Weglarz’s bases-loaded walk to make it a 3-3 game after two innings.
Middletown’s first two batters in the 3rd were recorded, out, but an obstruction call on a short grounder by Harbert went the Cavs’ way, and they took advantage.
Jacob Walls’ grounder to shortstop became a 3-base error, and Walls was brought in on McClendon’s single to right for a 5-3 lead.
Davis cut the deficit in half with an RBI single to center after Darryl Wilson’s double, but they could not get the trying run across.
That proved important as both pitchers settled down.
Appoquinimink’s Javon Fields collected the only hit for either team over the next two innings, as Steckline and Wootten settled into a duel.
Middletown was retired in order by Steckline in the top of the 7th, giving the Jags one last chance for the tying run.
The winning run was on base with two outs, when a slow grounder to first base was bobbled by McClendon, but he settled and flipped to a sprinting David Keane, who entered in relief earlier in the inning, to seal the win for Middletown.
Wootten earned the victory by pitching 6 1/3 innings of 7-hit baseball. He struck out 3 Jaguars. Keane’s save came after getting the final two outs of the game.
Steckline picked up the loss despite a 7-inning complete game. He didn’t give up a hit, except in the two decisive innings. The senior finished with 8 strikeouts.
Middletown (7-1) won the game despite having the top 3 hitters in their lineup go 0-for-12, and they only had 3 hits in the game leave the infield. The Cavs face another regional rival on Saturday playing at St. Georges at noon.
Appoquinimink (9-1) will return to action at home on Tuesday against DMA.