DUE WEST --If you’re a baseball purist, DIxie’s 2-0 win over Crescent was the place for you to be Thursday.
Each team only had five hits with the game lasting just an hour and a half. It was a pitcher’s duel from the beginning, but Dixie starter Laython McLean proved superior, pitching a shutout and racking up six strikeouts.
“Tonight, Laython was very efficient on the mound,” Dixie coach Jimmy Prince said. “He threw strikes and his changeup was really good. I told him since he’s been a freshman, that’s how good he can be every time. He can be our best.”
Prince added that he didn’t call a lot of fastballs today for McLean, usually going to his changeup which left some stamina for the southpaw to finish the game out.
But, as important as McLean was, his teammates backed him in the field with solid defense, which might be the team’s best all-around game so far.
“In previous games we hadn’t played a complete game offensively and pitching,” Prince said. “I asked them to play a complete game for us both offensively and defensively.”
Dixie threatened early, but wasn’t able to put a run across until the bottom of the fifth when an dropped third strike by Crescent put the Hornets’ Adam Carter on first, followed by a walk to McLean.
Dixie then put two runs on the board with two sacrifice flies, something that Prince isn’t surprised by.
“We got two sacrifice flies. We work on that every day -- getting runners on, moving them over and that’s what we did tonight,” Prince said.
The Tigers put a runner on second with just one out in the top of the sixth, but a big-time strikeout by McLean and a fly out to left field ended the frame.
Much to Prince’s liking, he believes the grind-them-out games like his team faced Thursday are a much better measurement of how good they are and can be.
“I like this,” Prince said. “When you win one- and two-run baseball games, great teams do that. Any team can go out and win a game by nine or 10 runs. (This game) shows a lot of heart, a lot of toughness -- mental toughness -- when you’re having to play a team to one- or two-run games in the seventh inning.”
Crescent, again, left a runner stranded at second in the final inning after McLean recorded the final out on a comebacker.
“Going into region... this gives us a boost of confidence that we can play with anybody,” Prince said.
Contact staff writer Julian McWilliams at 864-223-1814 or on Twitter@JulianMack105