The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 17, 2014

Scott Dudinskie's high school baseball column: Mustangs have the horses again

(Continued)

The Mustangs, however, have no intention of stopping at 10 wins, nor will they be satisfied hovering around .500.

They've long known what has taken others more than a year to realize: It wasn't a fluke, as some would call their nine-inning 1-0 loss to three-time champion Jersey Shore in the district final. And it's not luck at the root of their great start.

Midd-West, despite the loss of two all-star pitchers, is likely the Valley's best team.

"We're just average guys playing ball, trying to make it big," said Zimmerman, channeling John Kruk ("I ain't an athlete, lady. ...") when asked how good the Mustangs were. "Nobody gave us a chance last year, and they're saying the same thing this year. ... That's what I hear, anyway.

"We're looking to go back again."

Any doubt in the team stemmed from the graduation of Colton Keister and Austin Hockenbroch, a pair of aces who were responsible for almost all of Midd-West's wins last season. They were both good bets to go the distance whenever they took the ball, and each had a sub-2.00 ERA.

"Pitching-wise, you don't replace two horses like we had, but we have good pitchers," said Flood. "I knew what I had back. We knew we had Hunter (Shuff) back. ... And I've got a sophomore, Aaron Sharp, who's thrown the ball real well. We have (Alex Hackenburg and Ryan Combs) we can go to.

"So I expected good pitching, but I didn't think it'd be great pitching. Right now, my pitching's great. I mean, it's not good. It's great."

The Mustangs' offense has been sparked by the first five bats in the order: Sharp, Eli Stem, Shane Connahan, Zimmerman and Shuff. All have the discipline and confidence to work a count, as well as the ability to make consistent contact and drive a gap.

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