“I honestly don’t know,” Marcucci said when asked what Ketelsen did that made him so effective. “He came out and he did what he did, but I think we just had an off-night. … I know our guys nine times out of 10 we wouldn’t have gotten shut out again. But props to him; he did a heck of a job.”
Nick Wall had the other hit for Northeast, and Ketelsen issued two walks but also was helped by two double plays. He struck out just one batter.
“We were hitting them at people and weren’t hitting them hard,” Howe said. “We were out on our front foot a lot. We faced two really hard-throwing pitchers our last two games, and I don’t want to make excuses, but I think (what) had a little bit to do with it was seeing quite the velocity drop. The kid pitched a great game, and he had us off-balance all night. The kids fought. It just wasn’t our night.”
Mount Vernon coach Jeremy Elliott praised his pitcher.
“He did a fantastic job,” Elliott said. “He’s a fearless freshman. He just wants the ball in his hand all the time. … We felt pretty comfortable putting him out there today because of that mentality.”
Northeast batted first and had no reason to expect what was to come after Marcucci reached on a bunt single and Tevin Stoecker followed with a flyout to deep center field.
But, there was an indication of what would follow in the bottom half of the first inning. Mount Vernon scored without getting a hit when Trey Ryan led off with a walk, was bunted to second, took third on a pitch in the dirt and scored on Marquis Dew’s sacrifice fly.
“You ask any baseball coach — you get the leadoff batter on base and good things will happen,” Elliott said. “We were able to do that a few times in the postseason, and we scored some runs with that. You put the ball in play and you make the defense make mistakes, and good things happen when you do that.”