Adam Mitchell spent the first six innings Thursday throwing overhand as Cimarron-Memorial’s catcher.
He spent the final inning as the team’s submarine-style closer.
Mitchell singled home the go-ahead run and recorded the final three outs on the mound as the Spartans beat visiting Shadow Ridge 3-2.
“It’s very difficult to hit, especially at this level because kids haven’t seen it much, if at all,” Cimarron coach Mike Hubel said of Mitchell’s unusual delivery. “It’s a completely different look.”
Mitchell retired the first two batters on soft ground balls before Shadow Ridge leadoff man Koby Millner lined a sharp single to right. Millner went to second on a wild pitch, but Tyler Burton lined out to second baseman Derek Decolati to end the game.
“They hit it hard twice,” Hubel said. “Fortunately for us, it was right at somebody.”
Cimarron struck for two runs in the first to take an early advantage. Niko Decolati homered to right-center to lead off, and Noah Parker delivered a two-out RBI single to score Mitchell.
Shadow Ridge responded in the third with a two-out rally of its own. After Millner and Burton singled, Eric Jordan drove a low fastball over the head of center fielder Trevor Doyle for a tying two-run double.
Mitchell came through in the bottom of the third, singling up the middle with two outs to score Alexander Marco with the go-ahead run.
“The good thing for us offensively is we bounced right back and scored the one we needed to win,” Hubel said.
Pitcher Todd Danzeisen gave the Spartans four solid innings to get the win. He gave up four hits, struck out three and walked one.
Shadow Ridge’s Nick Parr pitched the distance, allowing two earned runs on six hits. He pitched out of several jams, as Cimarron stranded runners in scoring position to end three innings, and two more innings ended on double plays.
“With runners in scoring position, especially with two outs, we weren’t very good today,” Hubel said. “That’s something we’ve just got to work on. But they’re high school kids. They’re going to get a little nervous, especially this early in the season. Everybody was a little nervous with this tight of a game. But I like it. The more we play in this situation, the more we put the kids in that situation, hopefully the better they’ll respond later on when we need them to.”
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4587. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters.