William Monroe’s Reilly Owen threw 93 pitches. He threw 65 of them for strikes. Madison County’s Hunter Smith threw 98 pitches, with 66 of those for strikes. While the first meeting between these two teams — with the next looming just four days down the road — was truly a pitchers’ duel most of the way, a rally in the sixth by the Dragons gave Monroe a comfortable 6-1 win over the Mountaineers.
“Reilly’s arm was feeling a little tender earlier in the season and so this was great to see,” said Monroe coach Mike Maynard. “His velocity was up and his curveball is always good. We know we’ve got a great pitching staff for a 3A baseball team. So we’ve just got to swing the bats.”
Owen struck out 15 batters in his complete game, and it was a strikeout in the dirt that allowed a base runner on board, which was followed by an error and an RBI groundout from William Graves in the seventh to break up his complete game shutout. He’d have to settle for the former in a strong outing where he gave up just three hits and didn’t walk a batter.
“My curveball and fastball were on point and everything just felt good today,” Owen said. “(We) went right at them and started them off with a first pitch strike and then go from there.”
On the other side, Smith pitched five and a third innings and struck out six while walking just once before reaching his pitch limit in the sixth.
“The whole time he pitched he was just throwing well, but just unfortunate,” said Madison coach David Londrey. “He did his job tonight, could not have asked for more from him. Fastball was working, curveball was working. The command was there. Things behind him just unraveled in the sixth. It was a great game, we just made too many mistakes defensively.”
Up 2-0 in that sixth, the Dragons gave Owen more than enough insurance with an RBI single from its lone senior, Bryan Knight, followed by a 2-run double from Sal Coyle, his second of the game. Derek Ryan’s RBI double made it 6-0.
“Sal Coyle is really coming on,” Maynard said. “He’s a great athlete with great speed and when he hits it, he hits it.”
Monroe picked up its first two runs in the bottom of the second after singles from Brice Slaughter and Jonathan Sexton. Coyle then delivered a 2-run double to give Owen all the run support he’d need.
“That gave me a lot of confidence,” Owen said. “It made sure we had a lead to go with.”
On the night, Slaughter was 3-for-3 for Monroe with two runs scored. Coyle went 2-for-3 with three RBI. All five runs were driven in for the Dragons by the 6-7-8 hitters in the lineup.
For Madison, Jon Miller was 1-for-2. Eli Estes and Josh Breeden were both 1-for-3.
The two former Bull Run District rivals will meet again on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Madison.