Basic pitcher Josh McLean had his fair share of control issues against Centennial on Tuesday in a matchup of top-10 Southern Nevada baseball teams.
But in the game’s critical moments, the 6-foot-3-inch senior threw strikes and allowed his defense to make plays.
McLean gave up just four hits in five innings, and his defense turned three double plays as the No. 5 Wolves held on for a 5-2 road win over No. 7 Centennial.
“He did pretty well, considering that I didn’t know his back was hurting him the whole game,” Basic coach Scott Baker said. “He didn’t tell me until I went out to pull him. We kind of sensed something was wrong because his ball got up in the zone a little bit later in the game, but we just thought it was fatigue. … Just a gutsy effort.”
McLean, who finished with two strikeouts and three walks, took a no-hit bid into the third inning before it was broken up by Centennial’s No. 9 hitter, Tyler Hennis, on an infield single.
McLean hit the next two batters to load the bases, but the Wolves turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. It was the first of three double plays for Basic (17-3), which didn’t commit an error.
Centennial (13-6) had three errors and left eight runners on base.
“Defense has been strong. It’s our strongest suit,” Baker said. “We’ve pitched OK. Offensively, we did enough, but I didn’t think we swung the bats great. Defense was, for sure, the key to the game.”
David Huddleson gave Basic its first run after drawing a one-out walk in the third. He took second on Roger Riley’s single and scored on Jack Wold’s single to left field to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead.
Logan Green reached on a Centennial error to start the inning and scored on consecutive singles by Tanner Roundy and Cory Wills to make it 2-0.
Centennial trimmed the deficit to 2-1 on a RBI single by Kyle Horton in bottom of the fourth, but Basic’s Garrett Giles turned an unassisted double play at third base to end the inning.
The Wolves scored three runs on four hits in the sixth to push the lead to 5-2.
With McLean walking the first two batters in the sixth, Trever Berg came in and immediately got a 5-4-3 double play. He allowed an RBI double to Hayden Grant, but then retired Frank Sessa to end the inning.
Berg pitched the seventh to get the save.
“That’s what he does,” Baker said. “He’s really efficient. He throws a lot of strikes, especially in that situation right there with the game on the line. That’s why we went to him, because that’s the type of pitcher he is.”
Roundy was 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI for Basic, and Wills had two RBIs.
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at email@example.com or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson.