HIGHLAND | Any colder Tuesday and they would've played this game in ear muffs and mittens.
No problem for Mikey Doolin, however.
"The weather didn't really affect me, having grown up here," said the hard-throwing right-hander, who struck out 12 as Times No. 1 Andrean slipped by No. 9 Highland, 4-2, in Northwest Crossroads Conference action.
Doolin walked two, scattered four hits, and provided the heat on this dark, cloudy afternoon.
"I feel I have a 'plus' fastball -- around 88 miles an hour -- now that I've grown and gotten stronger," said the 6-foot-3 sophomore, who was barely 6-foot his freshman year.
"It's nice to know I'll have upwards of 5 or 6 runs to work with. We didn't score much today, but I've had crazy run support in my other starts."
Andrean (14-2, 7-0) led 4-0 after three innings with Nick Fushi's lead-off double in the second, Clay Thompson's leadoff triple in the third, RBI singles by Tyler Nelson and Joe Rycerz, and a run-scoring double steal as the main highlights.
Highland (10-5, 4-3) answered with a bases-loaded walk to Damen Castillo in the fifth and AJ Reid's RBI double in the sixth.
"This team gets a lot of extra base hits and they're not just pull hitters," Andrean coach Dave Pishkur said. "We've got 20 home runs. All the kids can hit.
"Our leadoff hitter (Fushi) has something like 18 or 21 hits and only three are singles."
Highland coach John Bogner hoped his team would fare better in its NCC rematch today at Andrean.
"Timely hitting. That's been our problem," Bogner said. "We have to do the best we can to produce when we can. All four of their runs came with two outs. We struck out 12 times, four times looking.
"(Doolin) is the best we've seen in 15 games. We got away from our approach, which is to take what's given, but we lost our aggressiveness and we can't afford to."
There were some positives.
Shortstop AJ Reid, only a freshman, had two of the Trojans' five hits. Junior catcher Nick Anderson has thrown out seven of the last eight runners attempting to steal second.