The host Grain Valley baseball team used small ball and a monstrous performance by starting pitcher Chaise McCord to claim a slick 1-0 victory over Suburban Big Six leader Lee’s Summit North Thursday afternoon.
The Eagles parlayed a Mitch Chapman infield single, a Bronco error, a Chapman stolen base and an infield out by Austin Foster to push across the lone run of the game and McCord took care of the rest. The lanky right-hander finished with nine strikeouts and threw no-hit ball for 5 2/3 innings. He allowed an infield single and a single to left field.
“Everything was working for Chaise today,” said Eagles catcher Kyle Clark, who threw out a Broncos base runner attempting to steal second in the top of the fifth inning. “Early on, I’m thinking that one run might be enough to win the game the way he was pitching. His sinker was amazing – so were his curve and change and fastball. Everything was working. It was fun being behind the plate today.”
It was the first start for McCord in nearly two weeks after he suffered a mild concussion following a minor accident in the weight room.
“I hit my head lifting and it took me a while to get back out on the mound,” said McCord, who finished with a two-hit shutout. “It felt great out there today. Everything was working. They’re such a good team. I knew I couldn’t really afford to make any mistakes. The guys played great defense behind me and the first guy who got on (a fifth-inning walk) was thrown out at second.”
When asked about losing the no-hitter, McCord admitted that it was disappointing.
“The big thing is winning the game,” McCord said. “I wasn’t really thinking about a no-hitter, but after they got that first hit (a single by leadoff man Hayden Bradford in the sixth inning), I knew I had to bear down because I didn’t want to give them any runs.”
Tanner Vance was hit by a pitch with two outs in the top of the sixth and Bradford followed with high, bouncing infield hit. But Justin Root popped out to shortstop Zack Ehlen for the final out.
“It’s kind of funny,” Grain Valley coach Brian Driskell said, “our outfield was soaked from all the rain we’d had and (activities director) Mike Tarrants jokingly said to make sure no one hits the ball to the outfield today, and they didn’t hit a ball to the outfield until they got that hit in the seventh.
“Our outfielders did not record an out today. That’s how dominating Chaise was. We needed a game like that. That was a good win.”
The Eagles, who play in the smaller Missouri River Valley Conference West, are 11-7.
The tough-luck loser was Bryce Miller, who allowed just four hits and one unearned run. Chapman finished with two hits for the Eagles.