Guardians fall in district final despite Ian McVey's gem

Michael Smith
Special to The Examiner
St. Michael the Archangel Catholic pitcher Ian McVey throws to an Adrian batter in the Class 3 District 14 championship game Tuesday at Raytown South High School. McVey allowed just two runs on four hits in six innings but the Guardians fell 2-1.

Outings on the mound don’t get much more efficient than what Ian McVey had on Tuesday.

The St. Michael the Archangel Catholic left-hander tossed a gem, finishing with just 61 total pitches. He may not have been dominant or overpowering, but he let his defense work and it made no errors behind him.

Despite only giving up two runs on four hits in six innings, McVey’s effort wasn’t enough as his Guardians fell 2-1 to Adrian in the Class 3 District 14 championship game at Raytown South High School.

“I told him as he came off (the mound) that I couldn’t be more proud of him,” St. Michael coach Michael Stringer said of his conversation with McVey. “He’s been the bulldog pitcher all year long. He got hurt early in the season, so he got off to a late start.

“Each time he pitched, he got better and better. And today, you couldn’t ask more of him. It was the best pitching performance of the year that I have seen.”

McVey didn’t have any strikeouts but he didn’t have any walks either. Both of the runs scored against him came in the bottom of the second inning after Adrian center fielder Christian Evans hit a two-out triple, Left fielder Gage Harris was hit by a pitch and catcher Mason Talley drove them both home with a double.

Aside from the second, McVey didn’t allow much hard contact. In the other five innings, he allowed just two singles and got a lot of groundouts and fly outs. There were a few times he had 3-0 counts and he worked his way back to get an out.

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic's Michael Stufflebean steals second base ahead of the throw to the Adrian shortstop in the Class 3 District 14 championship game Tuesday at Raytown South High School. St. Michael lost 2-1.

“I was just throwing right down the middle, and they were just hitting it to my guys,” McVey said.”There was no strategy, it was just fighting.”

The opposing pitcher, Adrian’s Trevor Thompson, had a similar approach to McVey and pitched to contact. The right-hander tossed seven innings and allowed just one run on three hits, hit two batters and struck out three.

“He was locating really well and hitting both corners perfectly,” McVey said of Thompson.

Like McVey, Thompson had an error-free defense behind him. The only damage against him came in the top of the second when St. Michael right fielder Jackson Stringfield singled, stole second and scored McVey’s RBI single. Aside from that inning, the Guardians had a runner at second two other times but could not get them across home plate.

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic's George Sheppard walks dejectedly off the field after the Guardians lost 2-1 to Adrian in the Class 3 District 14 championship game Tuesday at Raytown South High School.

“I thought we came in with a good approach at the plate,” Stringer said. “We knew Thompson would throw a lot of strikes and knew he would throw a lot of fastballs, which he did. I would say he was 90 percent fastballs. He didn’t throw spinners that much.

“We put good swings on that. We barreled the ball and just hit at them all day long.”

The Guardians, who finished 15-10-2, made a strong run to end the season, winning five of their last seven games. They will lose five seniors to graduation.

“This is the fourth year of the SMA program,” Stringer said. “This is the first senior class that will be gone. They are stellar leaders and the foundation of what we are trying to start here.”