As a four-year varsity player, captain and the catalyst of his team's undefeated start this season, South River pitcher Scott Mitchell has earned the right to have a say.
So when he asked to stay on the mound to get the final out in Friday's showdown against Anne Arundel County rival Severna Park, the Seahawks' brass obliged.
And Mitchell finished what he started.
When Severna Park second baseman Danny Fulton swung through Mitchell's high fastball for the third strike, the No. 2 Seahawks completed a sound 2-1 win over the No. 9 Falcons in Edgewater.
Mitchell scattered five hits, finished with nine strikeouts and stranded two runners in the complete game win. Outfielder Connor Cox hit a run-scoring triple and then scored on a two-out single by catcher Jake Gratz to supply the two runs in the fourth inning as the Seahawks improve to 6-0. The Falcons, now 2-4, got a fine pitching performance from Ryan Callahan, who allowed just five hits.
With runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the seventh, South River pitching coach Gary Gubbings paid Mitchell a second visit on the mound in the final frame. Mitchell was confident he had enough left to close out the win.
"That was a nail-biter to the end. I just have the confidence to get through it. Coach came out and asked me if I wanted that last hitter and I told him that's exactly what I want and was able to get it by him," Mitchell said.
Mitchell and Callahan went pitch for pitch through three innings before the Seahawks broke through with good hustle and clutch hits.
With one out, first baseman Craig Sheridan reached first base after a third strike got away from catcher Jake Seifert. Cox followed with a triple to deep center for a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Gratz lined a single to left to drive in Cox for the 2-0 lead.
The Falcons cut the lead to 2-1 in the fifth when Fulton's lined single got past centerfielder Nick Raimondo to allow Reid Kowalski to score from first base.
But Mitchell and fine defense took care of the rest. He threw 121 pitches — mixing his fastball with a steady dose of breaking balls that were always around the strike zone — and retired the side in order in the sixth before working his way out of the jam in the seventh.
Pleased with his team's undefeated start and the well-played game against Severna Park, South River coach Ken Dunn isn't satisfied quite yet.
"We're always looking to the next thing. The road to success is always under construction and we've just got to keep tweaking and get better and better," he said.
Severna Park coach Eric Milton hopes his Falcons can find a similar path. While he got the strong pitching performance from Callahan, the team's offense has yet to produce on a consistent basis.
"Hopefully things will turn around," he said. "The kids are working hard. They played a great game today — the defense was solid, the pitching was solid and we just got to get the bats going."
2 South River 2, 9 Severna Park 1
SP 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -- 1 5 2
SR 0 0 0 2 0 0 x -- 2 5 1
Callahan and Siefert; Mitchell and Gratz.
3B: SR -- Cox