Seymour, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- Marion C. Early’s Dustin Hargus struck out a career-high 18 batters as he led his team to a 2-0 semi-final win against the No. 2 seed Billings Wildcats.
Billings would only manage five hits against Hargus.
Dawson Meyer from Billings would only allow three hits and two unearned runs, but would suffer the loss.
With both pitchers dealing, runs would be hard to come by throughout the game. Marion C. Early (Morrisville) would get their runs in the top of the third inning when Billings committed two costly errors. Both runners would come around to score, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead. That was all Hargus would need, as he would strike out the side in three of the final five innings.
“It was a good night,” said Hargus. “My game plan going in was to throw first-pitch strikes and trust my teammates. It’s the most strikeouts I’ve ever had in a game. Next game we’re going to do the same thing. It’s worked two times so why try to change it?”
“Dustin was absolutely outstanding,” said Morrisville head coach Justin Crumpley. “He came out focused and we know that when he is focused his stuff is very good. He trusts his defense and he trusts his catcher. He always works around the strike zone and he was on tonight. To keep a good hitting team like Billings off-balance the entire game with his off-speed, his fastball is outstanding.”
“You can’t take anything away from Morrisville, they played a great game,” said Billings head coach Allen Stolte. “The Morrisville kid was dealing; he was throwing strikes and we were swinging and missing. That’s not our normal game, we are usually better than that. It’s not always the best team wins, but the team that’s playing the best wins.”
Meyer matched Hargus inning-for-inning and would allow only one hit in the last four innings of the game.
“Dawson Meyer pitched a great game for us,” said Stolte. “He gave up two runs but they were both unearned and he shut them down.”
Billings, who had not played in a while because of weather, did not want to use the rainouts as an excuse.
“We hadn’t played in a while but we don’t want to use that as an excuse,” said Stolte. “We got beat by a team that was playing better than us today. We were 14-7 this year, I’m proud of my kids and the way they battled.”
“Billings is a great team and they had several opportunities to score in the game,” said Crumpley. “We were able to buckle down in the important parts of the game. We knew it was going to be a low-scoring ballgame and if we could find a way to scratch a couple of runs across the plate then we’d have a chance with Dustin on the mound.”
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