McMillin’s no-hitter caps Cavalry sweep
Matt McMillin knew there wasn't much pressure on him to throw well Wednesday night in the second game of the Lansing Cavalry's baseball doubleheader against Basehor-Linwood.
His teammates gave him an 11-run cushion after the first inning, so McMillin knew he just needed to be efficient, throw strikes and make Basehor's hitters smack a few ground balls.
"That space cushion really helped me out because I realized all I had to do was throw strikes," McMillin said.
He was more than efficient, however. He was darn near perfect. The Lansing High School junior-to-be threw a no-hitter. He allowed just four base runners all game - three by walk and one by error - in four innings of work.
McMillin mowed down batters and his teammates did the rest in the 15-0 run-rule victory. The Cavalry also won the first game of the night 12-6.
"I didn't really think about it," McMillin said, admitting that he didn't realize he had thrown a no-hitter until the game ended. "A lot of stuff goes through your mind so you've got to stay focused."
The Cavalry were as focused as they could possibly be in game two. Game one was another story. In fact, the Cavalry (8-3) had to rally to win on their home field. Basehor plated two runs in first, third and fifth innings and held a 6-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. Up to that point, the only fireworks Lansing had to show came from Jeff Terrill's solo home run in the fourth inning.
The Cavalry finally came to life and provided starting pitcher Cody Mohan a bit of run support in the bottom of the fifth. They scored five times as Matt Mowery, Jordan Pratt, Terrill, Mike Bayless and Johnny Stratton all reached base and came around to score. They scored three more times in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
"They needed a while to get into it," Cavalry coach Jake Hanson said of the twinbill, "but I think that (second game) they finally put everything together. We made some things happen by being aggressive on the base paths and everything."
Mike Amaral threw the final two innings of game one and kept Basehor off the scoreboard. Hanson praised Amaral's work in relief work and said the LHS senior-to-be has looked stronger as the season has gone on.
"Mike Amaral just looked great in the first game coming in in relief," Hanson said. 'He's really throwing the ball well. He's throwing the ball as well as I've seen him. And then when he gets runners on base he's able to get bround balls. He's doing a great job."
The momentum that Lansing built in the late innings of game one carried full-throttle into game two. McMillin struck out the first Basehor batter but walked the second. The third hit a foul-ball pop-up, and catcher Jordan Pratt made a diving catch. Pratt hopped to his knees and fired a throw to first for a double-play to end the inning.
Then it was the Cavalry's turn, and they took their sweet time piling on 11 runs in the inning as they sent 17 batters to the plate. Stratton led off the inning with a walk. Tom Kohl singled. Then Mohan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Conn Blakley's base hit ignited the run-scoring flurry that lasted for nearly a half-hour. Stratton, Kohl and Mohan all scored twice in the inning.
"We were seeing a good pitch and driving it," Hanson said. "That's what we've been waiting for all year : timely hitting."
McMillin retired Basehor's batters in order in the second, and then Lansing piled on three more runs. This time it was Josh Coleman who started things as he was hit by a pitch. Stratton followed with a walk, as did Kohl. Mohan then hit a sacrifice fly that plated Coleman. Stratton later scored, as did Kohl. That pushed the lead to 14-0.
As if it wasn't raining enough on Basehor already, things really got nasty in the third inning. With Lansing's Kyle Hutchison at the plate facing an 0-1 count, the sprinklers suddenly turned on and soaked the Bobcats' dugout, as well as part of the field.
Eventually the sprinklers were shut off, but they kicked in a second time in the top of the fourth. The wet conditions and 10-minute sprinkler delay weren't enough to slow down Lansing or deter McMillin, however. McMillin shut down the Bobcats one final time and then the Cavalry put the game way when Terrill reached base on an error and later scored on a passed ball to end the game, 15-0.
"I'm proud of them," Hanson said. "They stayed in the game for the most part. It's hard in games like that, but I thought they did a very good job."
The Cavalry head to Burlington on Saturday to play in the two-day Burlington Tournament. Hanson said he is excited to see what his team can do this weekend after putting everything together so well in game two.
"When so many good things happen like that (tonight), it's really tough to try to single out one thing that stood out," Hanson said of his team's all-around strong performance. "I almost have to keep a note pad during the game because a lot of guys did a lot of nice things that game."