Through the first three contests of a scheduled five-game local spring-break baseball tournament, the McLean Highlanders have a 3-0 record with their pitching strong each game.
The schedule for the remaining tournament games is unknown because of many rainouts and postponements.
McLean’s most recent victory in the high-school competition was a three-hit 7-0 triumph over the perennial power Lake Braddock Bruins (5-2) April 6 behind the shutout pitching of sophomore right-hander Aidan Carey on the South County Middle School field.
Carey (2-0) struck out seven, walked two, hit one batter and threw just 82 pitches to give McLean four straight victories and a 6-3 overall record.
Carey was so-so starting and ending the game in the first and seventh innings, but toughened each time by not allowing a run. He hit the leadoff batter in the first inning, then walked the second. In the seventh, he allowed two singles, but fanned the last hitter to end the game with runners on second and third.
“I have to admit. I got a little tired at the end, but the adrenaline was flowing and I wanted to keep rolling,” Carey said of his first high-school complete game and shutout.
The 6-foot-1 Carey doesn’t throw a curveball, but said his slider and changeup combinations worked well. He mixed in fast balls during his second start of the season.
“This was a good team win for us,” Carey said.
McLean coach John Dowling said Carey’s effort was his best so far this spring.
“He was really good, very good, got ahead of hitters and was that guy we knew we had,” Dowling said. “His two-seam fastball is tough on right-handed batters and his off-speed changeup is a nightmare for high-school hitters. He’s a pitcher with great composure.”
McLean had 13 hits, with three each from Griffin Stieg (double) and Jakob Luu (two RBI), an RBI triple from Chris Morabito, a homer and two hits from Robbie Coates and an RBI single by Wyatt Johnson. Ethan Ball, Gavin Bartlett and A.J. Poole had a hit each.
McLean’s earlier victories in the tournament were over W.T. Woodson, 6-3, and South County, 3-2. All three wins were non-district victories.
Stieg, the staff ace, started and threw five innings of two-hit ball with eight strikeouts and no walks against Woodson to get the win and improve his record to 3-1.
Johnson (two RBI) and Bartlett (homer and double) hit home runs, Ball (double had three hits), Coates doubled and had an RBI and Morabito double.
In the weather-shortened five-inning win over South County, Jack Nance went the distance to get the win, scattering six hits and fanning three. Coates doubled and had an RBI. McLean scored two runs in the last of the fifth inning with the help of an error, walk and wild pitch.
NOTE: In non-league action, McLean has a 3-0 record in the Liberty District.