Chris Wick really isn’t a pitcher, but he played one on Thursday.
The left-handed senior, who will play outfield at Webster University next season, tossed his first career complete game in leading Bartlett to a 5-1 Upstate Eight Valley victory over host Metea Valley.
It was just Wick’s third pitching appearance this spring. He scattered eight hits and allowed an unearned run while only walking two and striking out six.
“I’ve barely pitched this year, but I’ll pitch whenever they ask me to,” Wick said. “My goal was just to throw strikes. Everything good happens when you’re just around the plate and forcing them to get hits.”
Bartlett (13-16, 11-14) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Myles Zilinsky, who singled with one out, eventually scored with two away when Trevor Svetic reached on an error.
The Hawks extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth. Michael Pfaender and Cory Krolikowski started the rally with singles before Jake Barrutia delivered a two-run single.
Metea Valley (19-13-1, 14-9-1) fell further behind in the top of the fifth. Svetic clobbered an RBI triple and then trotted home on Joey Roberson’s single to make it 5-0.
“We’ve now scored first in nine of our last 10 games,” Barrutia said. “That’s always big. At the beginning of the year we were always in a hole to start the game. Lately, we’ve been scoring early. [Thursday], we got a big lead early, which was huge.”
Wick never set the Mustangs down in order, but pitched extremely well with runners on base.
“Mike did a great job,” Bartlett coach Chris Pemberton said. “We tell our pitchers to be around the plate. He threw 65 strikes and 35 balls and he kept hitters off-balance by mixing it up and throwing strikes.”
The Mustangs broke up Wick’s shutout bid in the fifth thanks to Jack Szott’s sacrifice fly.
Both teams now turn their focus to next week’s regionals. The Hawks will face Elgin Monday morning at York.
“We can’t take Elgin for granted,” Barrutia said. “We’ve got to focus only on that game, keep the same mindset and keep playing like we’ve been playing.”
The Mustangs have a week to get ready. They’ll host either Neuqua Valley or East Aurora next Thursday.
“The last couple days we’ve been able to give some guys who haven’t played a ton a chance to play,” Mustangs coach Craig Tomczak said. “We’re fine-tuning some things, giving some guys a rest and recovering from some small injuries to get ready for the tournament.”