Sutton pitches Lindhurst past rival Marysville
Blazers take down Indians 5-3
Even after throwing 111 pitches through five innings, there was no way Lindhurst High ace Andrew Sutton was handing the ball over on Friday.
Not when his team needed him, and especially not against rival Marysville.
So the junior right-hander sucked it up and toed the rubber to pitch a perfect sixth inning before climbing the hill once more in the seventh to finish the job.
His final throw of the day — a called third strike on his 141st pitch — sealed the deal, and the Blazers left Weldon Field in Marysville with a 5-3 Golden Empire League victory over the Indians.
Of course, pitching in big games for Lindhurst is nothing new for the Sutton family. Older brother AZ was a four-year varsity standout for the Blazers, while Andrew has played nothing but varsity ball since coming to the school as a freshman.
He knew what the game meant, and in the end, he delivered.
"It's Marysville. It's a Sutton family tradition and there was no way I was coming out," said Sutton, who allowed five hits, walked six and struck out seven in a workman-like effort. "I would have gone 200 pitches if I had to."
And while his pitch count was a factor, especially in the later innings, his coach decided to stick with his ace and ride it out.
"I kept asking him every inning and he was not going to come out at all," Lindhurst coach Jeremy Grace said. "He wanted this game."
The Blazers (3-4, 2-3) staked Sutton to an early lead when Keanu Cortes led off the game with a double and scored on the first of Marysville's five errors. Chris Sisco added an RBI single later in the frame and Lindhurst took a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Chase Collmer doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by David Wright in the second for Marysville to cut the lead to 2-1, but the Blazers answered back with a three-run fourth.
Riley Carns, who led all hitters by going 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored, started the rally with an RBI single before Sutton helped himself with a two-run single with two outs to make it a 5-1 game.
The Indians (5-5, 2-3) had a chance for a big inning in the fourth when they worked the bases loaded with no outs, but came away with only one run when sophomore Zac Dark scored on a fielder's choice by Austin Winona.
Chad Perry doubled and scored on a single by Cody DePalma in the fifth to make it a 5-3 ballgame, only to see Sutton settle down and retire seven in a row to keep the Indians off the board until the end.
"I was overthrowing early, but my defense turned it around for me," Sutton said. "I just started throwing the ball down the middle and let them hit it. They had my back today."
While fielding miscues have plagued the Blazers at times this year, it wasn't the case on Friday. The Blazers committed just one error in the game and made several great plays, especially by the double-play combo of Cortes at short and Zach Kitchen at second.
"Today we played good defense, and when we play good defense, we have a chance," Grace said. "Our outfielders tracked the ball well and our infield played great. Hopefully, it builds some momentum for us."
Hayden Page took the loss for the Indians after allowing nine hits and striking out six in a complete-game effort himself. He threw 93 pitches.
While Lindhurst flashed the leather on defense, the opposite was the case for Marysville.
"He's a gamer and pitched his heart out, but we looked like a completely different team from Capital Christian to today," said Indians coach Billy Rollins, referring to his team's 5-4 loss to the first-place Cougars on Wednesday. "You always tell your team that physical mistakes happen, but today we had mental mistakes, too."
Matt Edwards had a 2-for-2 day for Lindhurst, which resumes GEL play against West Campus on Wednesday and Friday. Marysville will host Wheatland on Monday before taking on GEL foe Mesa Verde on Tuesday and Friday.