By Thomas Sellers Jr.
BARTLETT — Good pitching could carry a baseball team to tremendous heights.
Throughout the opening week, the Munford Cougars have been participating in the Lewis Harris Tournament across Shelby County taking on the likes of Germantown and MUS.
Behind hurlers Dusty Baker and Nick Johnson, Munford picked up a pair of victories 6-2 over Germantown and 12-0 over MUS.
Thursday the Cougars arrived to the Bartlett Baseball Field to play the FACS Crusaders. It appeared the Munford offense didn’t get the memo. But behind the pitching performance of Jacob Sawyer, the Cougars outlasted the Crusaders 2-1.
“You can’t complain too much about being 3-0,” Munford Head Coach Jake Garbuzinski said. “Obviously from what you witnessed, we still have some things we need to work on. We want to put the ball into play a little bit more.
“This week had been a catalyst of our good starting pitching,” he added. “Every pitcher we’ve put in has come in and did what they’re supposed to do — throw strikes.”
Sawyer was throwing strikes recording 10 outs via the strikeout during his seven innings. Sawyer is a part of Garbuzinski’s three-headed senior pitching monster including Baker and Fulcher.
On opening day March 14 it was Johnson who recorded the victory over the Germantown Red Devils. The Cougars improved to 2-0 on the young season with an offensive outburst including a Steven Kendrick homer. Baker benefited from the 12 runs while shutting out MUS.
In the FACS contest the Munford offense was limited. The Cougars took advantage of a couple of errors to jump ahead 1-0 in the second inning.
Munford’s Austin Perry reached base on a strikeout, passed ball. With Perry on second base, Brennan Hollie stroked a double to center field to put Munford ahead.
FACS tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning on a fielder’s choice. And the Crusaders were threatening to take the lead in the top of the seventh inning with two runners on and no outs.
Sawyer came up clutch with two strikeouts to send the game to the bottom of the seventh inning deadlock at 1-1.
Sawyer would end up scoring the winning run when Perry hit the ball toward the shortstop. After a throwing error, Sawyer slide across home plate giving Munford a 2-1.
“Our offense other than today has been productive,” Garbuzinski said. “Even then at the end when we needed it, they stepped up and put the ball in play to make some things happen.
“We’re very fortunate to have three starting pitchers who are seniors and have logged several varsity innings under with Fulcher, Baker and Sawyer,” he added. “And that’s what you expect seniors to do, go out there and compete.”
Coach Garbo said the Lewis Harris Tournament has been a productive week for his team.
“It’s good that we’re getting tested early,” he concluded. “You want to get tested early so when you play in May, there is nothing new in the district tournament and playoffs.”