MUNSTER | Lowell was so close, it could taste the sweetness of victory.
Holding on to a 1-0 lead through five-and-a-half innings, the Red Devils were cruising right along as pitcher Josh Arnold was throwing one of the best games of his career.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, however, Munster snatched it away in the form of a two-run frame, holding on for a 2-1 win over the Red Devils in a Class 4A Munster Sectional opener.
“It was right there for the taking,” Lowell coach Bobby Wong said. “We left some kids on base. If we could have put a couple more runs on the board, who knows what could have happened?”
In the sixth, Munster’s Alex Skalka led off with a single before Alex Coccia drove him home with a sacrifice fly. Joe Jumonville followed with a double before an Alex Del Rio double drove Jumonville home and proved to be the game-winner.
“As soon as the draw came out, I knew Arnold was going to pitch against us,” Munster coach Bob Shinkan said. “The first time we faced him this season, we did about the same thing that time that we did here. I knew it was going to be a pitcher’s duel.”
Munster pitcher Jonathan Azar got the much-deserved complete game win, giving up one run on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
“The main thing was throwing strikes,” Azar said. “I threw my fastball for strikes a lot. I needed to keep my curveball down. At times, I left it up.”
In the nightcap, Morton’s Devonte Robinson led the game off with an RBI triple, setting up the Governors to cruise to a 13-0 win over West Side in five innings.
“Devonte is our spark plug,” Morton coach Scott Lush said. “He got us going today here, right off the bat. I told my players to be selective and patient up there and get good pitches to hit. We drew some walks, played small ball, stole when we needed to and were able to finish them off a little early. I’m happy with the way we performed today.”