Fair Grove, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- El Dorado Springs' Spencer Young has already had his fair share of impressive performances on the pitching mound during his brief high school tenure, but no performance was more impressive Saturday afternoon. He tossed a complete game masterpiece and no-hit Fair Grove in the first round of the Class 3, District 12 tournament.
As if that wasn't enough, the Bulldogs' pitching hero accomplished the feat while the game hung in the balance, with the final score ending up 1-0.
Only a sophomore, Young had the poise and presence of a bona fide veteran as he faced batter after batter -- refusing to allow the Eagles the benefit of a base-hit throughout the entire afternoon.
"I was feeling great," said Young after his no-hitter. "I did what I was supposed to do -- came out, throw strikes and just see what happens."
What happened was a piece of high school history. Despite throwing 108 pitches, Young never succumbed to the pressure of a big game and a chance at something special.
"He's our No. 1 [pitcher] for a reason," said El Dorado Springs head coach Jarrod Mays. "He did what a No. 1 is supposed to do -- give us a chance to win. He definitely did that today."
The no-no may have not even occurred if it wasn't for a proverbial wake-up call during the early moments of the game. In the bottom of the second inning, the El Dorado Springs ace loaded the bases via three walks and a hit-by-pitch. With two outs, Young knew he needed to buckle down quickly, and proceeded to get a timely strikeout of Fair Grove's Collin Breckner to keep a scoreless tie going.
From that point, Young would face the minimum until the fifth inning, when the buzz regarding a potential no-hitter started to swirl among the fans -- and some players.
"I try not to think too much, that's a difficulty of mine," Young said when asked if he thought about what he was accomplishing. "I don't really think I was thinking about that at all."
The fifth inning brought more trouble for Young and his Bulldogs as Fair Grove once again threatened with two men on base and two outs, thanks to a pair of walks.
With Fair Grove feeling some momentum, sophomore Ty Lumley popped a ball up into shallow left field that was falling quickly toward the grass, but second baseman Dayton Austin caught up in the nick of time to snag the ball for the out.
The crucial defensive play got Young out of further trouble and set the stage for El Dorado Springs freshman Riley Boyd. Boyd was able to work a bases-loaded walk with two outs to force in the game’s lone run.
"We started to be a little more patient at the plate, getting into some more hitters' counts and putting a little more pressure on the pitcher to throw strikes," said Mays.
In the bottom of the inning, Young finished his masterpiece -- fanning Breckner on a 2-2 count to strike-out the side and start a celebration amongst his teammates.
Young overpowered his Fair Grove adversaries with relative ease. Over his seven innings of work, he allowed no runs while giving up six walks and striking out thirteen batters. After the game, Coach Mays uttered a comment that would leave most opposing teams in the area shaking.
"He's capable of that every time out, he really is," added Mays.
While Fair Grove has come to the end of the line for their 2014 season, El Dorado Springs moves on to play top-seeded Lamar on Monday in a district semifinal game. Despite the challenging opponent, Young has an abundance of optimism for his team.
"We have no problem winning," Young said. "If we play like we've been taught, I feel completely confident in our team."
Four of the conference's seven teams were ranked at some point in 2013. The Mid-Lakes will again be top loaded in 2014, with Strafford, Skyline, and Marionville all in the conversation to compete for state championships. But, the biggest question in MLC...
We covered the area's best softball pitchers and catchers yesterday. Who are the best of the best to watch in the field this fall? Here are 14 (or so) of the area's top returning infielders and outfielders.
There are a lot of SS/3B/CF types on...
2014 will be a year of change in the COC-Small. Guys like Rafe Peavey, Blayne Armstrong, and Easton Flaugh are all off to start their D-1 careers. Meanwhile, names like Hancock, Gosch, and Hamon enter Year One in the conference. There will be new faces...