It was nothing fancy. Just two bursts, steady gloves and one sharp arm.
Those three things combined for Maplewood on Friday in a 6-0 shutout win over visiting Cochranton. A win which gave the Tigers their first set of back-to-back victories in Week 4 of the season.
Maplewood (3-4 overall, 3-4 Region 2) defeated Union City on Wednesday for the first half of the two-fer.
The first two innings featured six base hits and six runs by the home team Friday. From there they played nearly-perfect ball in the field, and senior hurler Josh Mowris went the distance for the five-hit shutout.
With the reinsertion of freshman infielders Nate Klingler and Joel Mowris in the lineup, the defense seems to have been shored up.
Josh Mowris never faced more than five batters in an inning but struck out just three. Eighteen putouts were recorded, one of which was a diving catch in center. Three others were precision snags while barreling toward the out-of-play lines.
Needless to say, this kind of a day can build a team’s confidence.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead of ourselves, but this is where we need to be to make a push,” Maplewood coach Matt Crocker said. “It’s fun right now. This is the way baseball should be.”
“I think as a team our confidence level is the highest it’s ever been,” Josh Mowris said. “Earlier in the year we didn’t look at ourselves as a contending team. I think because we did so well this week we are a lot higher on ourselves.”
“I think our momentum is really high right now,” Joel Mowris added. “Our confidence is up. We had a rough start; we weren’t getting many wins. But these last couple victories helped out.”
In addition to playing a part in six key outs in the field, Joel Mowris was also the Tigers’ offensive sparkplug with a 2-for-4, two-run, one-RBI day in the No. 2 spot.
Friday marked his third game back after returning from a concussion suffered during wrestling season.
According to Josh Mowris, his performance on the hill was nothing more than good command of his two-seam fastball with a subtle mix of the hook.
“I threw mostly fastballs, and then I just mixed in breaking balls when I got up in the count and they didn’t see it coming,” he said. “It kept them off-balance most of the time”
“Josh Mowris did an excellent job for us today. He had good stuff, went the distance and his pitch count was only 63 going into the last inning. So there was no fear or overworking him (Friday).”
In the first inning, Kole Lane led with a walk and stole second for the Tigers. Joel Mowris clipped an RBI single into right field, scoring Lane.
Josh Mowris pushed Joel Mowris to third on an error. Joel then scored on a balk when Vaughn Popeney attempted to steal second after reaching on a fielder’s choice.
Popeney came around when designated hitter Zach Kane reached on an error to shortstop.
It was five straight singles in the second inning, the first four of which were smacked into left field, which drove in the ensuing three runs.
Ryan Northcott took the loss for the Cardinals (1-7, 1-6) in his first career start.
“This is Ryan’s first start as a freshman,” Cochranton coach Jason Barber said. “He was hitting his spots; he threw well. You can’t ask for much more.
“We just didn’t string hits together. The first couple innings hurt, but that’s baseball. We got some things to grow on.”
The Tigers face Cambridge Springs on the road Monday at 4 p.m. The last meeting was a 16-0, five-inning Spa win on April 5.
“We just need to hit the ball,” Joel Mowris said. “I think that is what we weren’t doing early in the season, so we just need to hit and not worry about what happened last time.”