HALLAM — Hunter McVey underwent a role reversal on Tuesday evening.
A closer for his college baseball team at Delaware State, McVey started for East Prospect in a key Susquehanna League game against arch-rival Hallam.
The right-hander didn't leave the game until pitching six innings and allowing just one run while throwing 100 pitches. Terry Godfrey, who also pitches at Delaware State, retired three of the four batters he faced to earn the save in a 4-1 East Prospect victory.
The result allowed the Pistons to close within one game of first-place Hallam in the league standings. Hallam is 21-5, and East Prospect is 20-6. Both teams, which don't meet again in the regular season, have six games remaining.
"This win gives the guys a good attitude, and they'll be ready to do it again against whatever team we play," McVey said. "To go six or seven innings is not my thing, but I can do it. I'm used to throwing 15 pitches. To throw 100, I can definitely feel it (in his arm)."
McVey struck out five and walked just one, although he did hit three batters.
Hallam had at least one base runner in every inning, but McVey forced the Express to strand nine runners.
"My fastball location was a little bit off tonight, but I think what really saved me was my slider," he said. "The slider was working really well, especially when I mixed it with high fastballs outside."
East Prospect gave McVey the support he needed, both in the field and at bat, to earn the victory.
The Pistons snapped a 1-1 tie with two runs in the fifth inning and then tacked on another run in the sixth.
Lead-off hitter Devin Strickler broke the deadlock when he drilled a RBI triple to right-center field in the fifth. The blow scored Ben Achenbach, who had singled and moved up on Brett Houseal's sacrifice bunt.
"All day against (Hallam starting pitcher Alex) Tucci, I just wanted to take the ball the other way," said Strickler, a right-handed hitter who also contributed a double down the right-field line. "In the fifth inning, I got two strikes on me. but I just fought off some pitches (in an eight-pitch at-bat) and tried to get one over the middle of the plate and go with it."
Strickler said the victory was a big one because the Pistons didn't want to fall three games back with only six to play.
"Now, we have to hope that they (Hallam) drop one more," he said. "Of course, we have to keep doing what we've been doing, which is winning."
Strickler was the only East Prospect player with more than one hit.
Tucci and Colby Shimmel each had two hits for Hallam. The Express was only able to push one run across, and that came in the third inning.
"We hit the ball, but we didn't get the big hit," Hallam manager Terry Golden said. "They got the big hit. When that happens, you have to tip your cap to their pitcher."
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