Bishop Gorman’s American Legion baseball team hoped Evan Dunn could last at least six innings on the mound Monday.
The right-hander gave the Titans that and then some.
Dunn didn’t allow an earned run in a complete game, and Gorman scored six runs in the bottom of the third inning on its way to a 7-1 victory over Midland, Mich., in an American Legion World Series elimination game in Shelby, N.C.
“He was awesome. We were hoping he could go six or seven innings, that he could go the bulk of the game and use one other person,” Gorman coach Nick Day said. “But (Dunn) came up even bigger than that and threw a complete game. It seemed like every time someone got on base, he got a ground ball and we turned a double play.”
Gorman (50-9-1) will play Eden Prairie, Minn. (41-8), at 2 p.m. Tuesday. If Gorman wins, a winner-take-all finale will follow against Tupelo, Miss., which beat Gorman 6-3 on Friday, the opening day of the tournament.
Dunn, who will be a senior at Gorman next season, scattered six hits, walked six and struck out seven.
“I just threw strikes, kept the ball low, got ground balls and lots of double plays,” said Dunn, whose team turned four double plays. “I gave up a lot of walks but did pretty well. I was just getting too nitpicky with my two-strike pitches. I’d give myself a B-plus or A-minus.”
Day said Dunn has continued to emerge as a big-game pitcher for Gorman. Dunn pitched a five-inning four-hitter in a 10-0 win over Green Valley in last season’s high school state title game.
“Absolutely, you can tell he likes that spot,” Day said. “And we like him in that spot. He’s just become that guy.”
Gorman catcher Erik Van Meetren continued his hot streak by going 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBIs. The UNLV signee has totaled seven hits and seven RBIs in his past two games.
Van Meetren hit a two-run single to highlight the six-run third inning.
“He’s doing a great job, especially with (slugger) Joey Gallo gone. He’s picking up the slack,” Day said of Van Meetren.
Justin Jones went 3-for-4 and Jerrel Latham 2-for-4 for Gorman, which won this tournament in 2008 and is just two wins away from another title.
“It’s awesome. With losing the first day (Friday), a lot of people would have been down and out and concerned about their chances,” Day said. “But our guys have faced elimination games well. We’re where we want to be.”
Day said Gorman will start either right-hander Cody Roper or lefty Adam Wozniak in Tuesday’s first game.
“I think we have a shot at it, but it won’t be easy,” Day said. “Mississippi has a lot of good arms, but our guys believe they can do it, and if they believe they can do it, I like our chances.”
Midland ended the season 46-9.