Northwest’s White dazzles in extra-inning win
Extra innings? Why not?
Why not, indeed, when you're pitching like Shawnee Mission Northwest senior left-hander Corey White. The Cougars hurler threw eight dominant innings Monday night, and, aided by clutch hitting from the lower third of the Cougars lineup, propelled his team to a 4-2 victory over Shawnee Mission East at Johnson County 3&2 Field.
The win moved the Cougars to 14-3 on the season and was Northwest's third win in its last four games.
Yet the story was definitely White, who started the game, pitched it through the standard seven innings and added one more for good measure.
"He was outstanding," Northwest head coach Rich Kuzydym said. "He was in control with all of his pitches."
Although White and East pitcher Eric Anderson engaged in a pitching duel throughout most of the contest, the game began as if it might have an offensive flair.
The Cougars struck first in the top half of the first inning when senior centerfielder Parker Amos belted a 1-2 pitch to the wall in deep right field for a double. After a D.J. Read ground out moved Amos to third, senior third baseman Billy Waldman drove Amos home with a ground out to the first base side to make the score 1-0 Northwest.
Senior catcher Matt LaGree then got on board after being hit by a pitch. His courtesy runner was moved to second on senior outfielder Tyler Shepherd's walk and scored when senior shortstop Brandon Cox smacked a chopper over the third baseman's head, making it 2-0 Cougars after one inning.
Both pitchers settled down after that, as White only gave up a run in the third and Anderson gave up no more runs before being relieved in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh the Lancers managed to tie the game on infield singles and sacrifice bunts, but Northwest was able to get out of the inning.
The Cougars didn't panic after losing the lead in regulation. In the top of the eighth, Northwest's LaGree led off with a walk. He then took second on a sacrifice bunt by Shepherd, who arrived safe at first on a throwing error. After an intentional walk to Cox and a fielder's choice, the Cougars had the bases loaded with one out.
Batting in the eighth spot, senior right fielder Dusty Burdolski looped a single into center field scoring Shepherd and giving the Cougars the lead back. Designated hitter Mitch Vielhauer then connected on an infield single to deep short, scoring Cox and putting the Cougars up 4-2.
That was as much insurance as White would need as he closed out the bottom of the eighth in style, striking out the last two East batters he faced.
For the game, White pitched eight complete innings, allowing two runs on five hits, walking three, and striking out seven.
Afterwards, White said that he was unfazed when East tied the game.
"I was just like, 'It happens,'" White said. "I just tried to keep my composure. My curve ball was working really good."
Burdolski echoed his pitcher's statements.
"That's the kind of team we've been all year," Burdolski said. "Other teams may get ahead, but we're not scared at all."
The win marked the beginning of a busy week for the Cougars, who have games Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.
The Cougars just capped off another busy week having lost to Olathe Northwest, 2-1, last Tuesday in another well-pitched performance by White. They beat Olathe South 6-0 Thursday behind a four-hit, eight-strikeout performance from junior pitcher Matt Page, and they downed Shawnee Mission South 4-2 on Friday. They fell to Olathe North 10-9 on Saturday.
Regionals begin next week.