Lee’s Summit North’s Deven Willmon didn’t have time to get anxious about making his first start on the mound this season.

Lee’s Summit North’s Deven Willmon didn’t have time to get anxious about making his first start on the mound this season.

The time for anxiety came in the first inning, but once Willmon left the bases loaded to emerge unscathed, he was golden.

After finding out he would be starting only when the Broncos arrived at Grain Valley, Willmon fired a two-hit shutout as North inched toward the .500 mark (8-9) with a 4-0 win over the Eagles.

Broncos coach Jeff Diekmann jokingly said the decision to start Willmon came after dividing the jersey number of scheduled hurler Tregg Pohlmann in half to come up with Willmon’s number.

“He came out and threw lots of strikes,” Diekmann said. “He changed speeds, which makes his fastball look faster, and he throws from different arm angles, which can mess with hitters.

“When Tregg couldn’t throw today, I was just hoping to get us through three or four innings. He threw two innings in relief the other day and was good.”

Willmon struck out eight and walked three, two of those coming in the first inning after Grain Valley (12-6) leadoff hitter Dylan Farrell reached on an infield error. But he followed each baserunner in the first with a strikeout, and the Eagles had just three more reach base the rest of the way as the Broncos provided solid glove work behind their hurler.

“Two-seam fastball was the key,” Willmon said. “Throwing it away and back in, getting ahead early and then throwing the changeup.

“I don’t think it was as much nerves (in the first inning) as just finding a rhythm and getting going. After the first inning, I was like, ‘OK, now we got it.’”

Bronco outfielders Brett Conrow and Jeff DeBacker each had two of the team’s nine hits, and leadoff hitter Conrow batted in DeBacker for the game’s first two runs.

The first came in the second inning when DeBacker reached a fielder’s choice and Dylan Carrender and Conrow followed with two-out singles to left.

In the fourth inning, DeBacker bunted himself on with one out and stole second. With two outs, Conrow rapped a first-pitch RBI double past third base.

North might have had a bigger lead if not for some base running gaffes. Twice a Bronco runner at second was tagged trying to advance to third on a grounder, and a hit-and-run failed in the fifth when the runner rounded second base during a flyout to center field and was too late returning to first.

“We came up with some fortunate two-out hits,” Diekmann said. “We didn’t hit it great, but we hit it well enough. It could’ve been more without our mistakes on the bases.”

The Broncos did add some insurance in the sixth, as DeBacker singled in Jordan Rice with one out and came home on a two-out error after the Eagles intentionally walked Conrow.

Grain Valley starter Tim Collins yielded nine hits, three walks and two earned runs (the Eagles in committed three errors) in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five.

“We had an opportunity to get on the board early,” Grain Valley coach Mark Lyford said. “They make a mistake, we didn’t take advantage and that was the difference. When we made a couple mistakes, they capitalized. I really feel like Tim pitched well enough to win.”