By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
COCOLAMUS -- John Wilson was living on the edge Saturday.
It wasn't as dangerous as it sounds. In fact, there was hardly a threat to him whatsoever.
The Southern Columbia sophomore threw a two-hit shutout at East Juniata in a District 4 Class AA quarterfinal, 5-0, painting the outside edge of the plate with the vast majority of his 104 pitches.
The sixth-seeded Tigers (17-5) scored five two-out runs to back Wilson and advance to a Tuesday semifinal against No. 7 Hughesville.
"I felt pretty good about the two (first-inning runs) with (Wilson) on the hill," said Southern Columbia coach Randy Young. "He's been effective all year."
The tall lefty didn't simply focus on the outer half of the plate against East Juniata's right-handed-heavy batting order. Wilson wore out the outside black and beyond, trying to coax off-balance swings and weak balls off the bats of third-seeded Tigers. When he came inside, it was with authority which wrecked the hitters' timing.
"Their pitcher just threw a dandy game," said East Juniata coach Tim Brubaker, whose team hadn't been blanked this season. "He kept moving the ball and kept us off-balance. He was just on and we didn't hit him."
Wilson gave up a two-out single in the third to Dalton Rowe, who was promptly caught stealing, and leadoff hit in the fifth erased by a fielder's choice. He struck out six and 10 other outs were hit to the right side of the field or back to the mound, with East Juniata protecting the edge of the plate.
"If you can locate the outside corner -- and the ump gives it to you -- it's usually a nice pitch," Wilson said.
What made Wilson's approach all the more impressive was he stayed on the corner with little regard for falling behind in the count or putting a batter on base via a walk. He ran eight three-ball counts but walked only two hitters, and he threw first-pitch strikes to just 10 of 25 batters.