HANCOCK - Borne out of necessity and borne out of sheer toughness, Pat's Foods' Preston Hutchens was presented with his Willis Reed chance at the plate and on the mound in a Twilight league game Tuesday against Mosquito Inn/Computer Mechanix.
After legging out a bunt single in the fifth inning, Hutchens collided with MI/CM second baseman Ian Diffenderfer as the infielder went to cover the bag. As they both went down, Diffenderfer accidentally rolled up on Hutchens right ankle, halting the game for several minutes as Hutchens received treatment on the ground. He shook it off and convinced manager Pete Guidotti that he didn't need a pinch runner - despite obviously favoring the injured ankle.
Then he went out to pitch the next inning.
Carl Roscoe of Pat’s Foods takes his home run trot after a fourth-inning solo shot during Tuesday’s game against Mosquito Inn/Computer Mechanix at Hancock Driving Park. Pat’s held on for a 7-6 victory. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
Hutchens gave up two unearned runs after a single bounced by the right fielder to the fence, but retired Mosquito Inn's two-through-four hitters without letting a ball get through the infield. And after teammate Luke Paul singled and stole second in the bottom of the sixth, Hutchens drove in what proved to be the game winning run with a single just past the reach of Diffenderfer.
He finished off the 7-6 win in style, retiring the Mosquito Inn/Computer Mechanix lineup in order with a three pitch, all-swinging strikeout from Diffenderfer to record the last out.
"It's pretty sore, planting on the mound was difficult at the end there," Hutchens said. "But once you get the adrenaline pumping, I don't know, it just seems like everything works. I guess the only way is to just get through it."
MI/CM 1010220 - 6 6 1
Pat's 011131x - 7 14 1
WP: Preston Hutchens, 2 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 K, 0 BB
LP: Steve Lishinski, 2 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 1 K, 3 BB
Justin Poirier, Mosquito Inn, 4-for-4, 3 runs.
Preston Hutchens, Pat's Foods, 3-for-4, 2 RBI, run.
Carl Roscoe, Pat's Foods, 1-for 3, HR.
Hutchens was needed on the mound as starter Lee Naugle left the game after 2 2/3 innings - on the heels of three straight walks - and Paul found trouble in the fifth, giving up the lead with two earned runs and loading the bases before inducing a pop-out to the shortstop.
"He did a really nice job," Guidotti said. "You know, when he went down, I thought, 'Oh God, there goes my Thursday pitcher.' I'm surprised he even got up to walk. So yeah man, he did a gutsy job.
After scoring just four total runs in last week's two-game series against Stanton, Pat's put together 14 hits (and three walks) with every place in the order getting in on the action.
Hutchens led the team with three hits and two RBIs, but it was No. 9 hitter Carl Roscoe who captured the eye with a solo blast to deep right-center in the fourth inning. It was just Roscoe's third hit in 15 tries this year and first RBI of the season.
"We got some key hits today and some fantastic defensive plays by some people but Carl hitting that home run, that was great because he has had a rough time at the plate the past three games," Guidotti said. "I just told him, 'Just get in there and have fun,' and he relaxed and he hit it."
Mosquito Inn put 13 men on base and held the lead at two different points in the contest, but also stranded the bases full twice and saw pitching struggles from starter Will Williams and Steve Lishinski.
The loss evened Pat's record at 2-2 and dropped Mosquito Inn to 1-3.