In a postgame meeting after a contest against Independence Post 21, the Lee’s Summit Outlaws players yelled a message in unison to pitcher James Michael.
“Thank you James!” the Outlaws exclaimed.
The right-hander, who normally plays for another competitive summer baseball team, pitched for the Outlaws for the first time this season. He will fill in when the team needs him and he tossed a five-inning gem, allowing just one run on three hits, walking just one and striking out five in a 14-1 mercy-rule victory in seven innings Tuesday at Legacy Park.
“I threw (my breaking balls) on the first pitch sometimes,” Michael said. “I usually go the slider first because it has more lateral movement. Then I would throw the curveball. I’ve thrown the slider my whole career and have worked on the curveball this year.
“It was a good day, but could have had a few more strikeouts.”
Lee’s Summit catcher Jaxson Hill said Michael having two breaking pitches threw Post 21 for a loop.
“He threw the slider and they thought that was it, then he’d come with the curveball,” Hill said. “They didn’t see it coming.”
Added Outlaws manager Mark Bradford: “(Michael) had good command and you can’t ask for much more.”
Michael mixed his pitches well and kept Independence off balance. He utilized a fastball, a slider and a curveball, which helped limit hard contact by Post 21. His only blemish was an RBI double from Cody Pleacher in the second inning.
It helped Michael’s cause that he got plenty of offensive support. A wild pitch helped set up Ben Kobel’s two run single and Wyatt Urzendowski followed with a sacrifice fly to give Lee’s Summit a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
After Independence narrowed the gap to 3-1, the Outlaws scored another three runs in the bottom of the second, with Hill’s two-run double the key hit, making it 6-1.
Lee’s Summit added five more in the third. Blake Marnholz’s RBI double to left-center field and a two-run bloop single off the bat of No. 9 hitter Logan Adams helped the Outlaws extend the lead to 11-1.
T.J. Nichols helped add two of three insurance runs on a double he drilled down the left field line in the fifth.
Jeremy Root pitched a scoreless sixth inning and Alex Calia had a scoreless seventh to close it out for the Outlaws.
Trevor Key was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored; Hill was 2-for-3 with two RBIs; and Adams was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
“Everyone was seeing the ball like a beach ball,” Hill said. “We were just putting the bat on the ball and hit a lot of doubles.
“Logan is fantastic at the 9-hole. It’s awesome having him get a couple of hits.”
Cam Lusso had two of Post 21’s three hits, both doubles. Blake Hutson was the losing pitcher as he gave up six runs in 1 ⅓ innings.
“They are a really good team,” Post 21 manager Greg Lundquist said of the Outlaws. “They have a lot of seniors and we’re young. We’ll get things figured out. From top to bottom, they are a tough lineup to face.”