There's a certain peculiarity about pitchers. For most of them, everything has to be right when they go out there, from every pitch working in pre-game warm-ups, to feeling good mentally and physically.
When something is missing, getting comfortable can be very difficult, but they still have to go to work. North County senior Mike Wooden and Old Mill sophomore Mike Ziegler each went seven innings yesterday in Millersville, and neither has yet to get comfortable.
But Wooden (6-0) feels the best because the No. 3 Knights (10-1) escaped with a 4-2 victory over No. 12 Old Mill (8-5). North County swept the season series with the Patriots, having won at home by the same score on April 5.
"I didn't feel good today, my fastball didn't have any pop and my curveball wasn't working, and they have a good hitting ballclub," said Wooden, who pitched a perfect game against Old Mill last May but gave up five hits yesterday, the most in six outings this spring.
"They know me and I know them because we play together in the summer or against one another."
Ziegler (3-1) didn't feel his best either. Still, the right-hander kept his team in the game.
"I didn't think I had real good stuff, and made a couple mistakes," said Ziegler, who had not pitched for 13 days.
Ziegler gave up a home run to North County senior catcher Steve Tomshack (3-for-3) after retiring the first two batters he faced. Senior first baseman Tweety Barton launched a three-run rocket over the fence in left center in the sixth to give the Knights a 4-0 lead.
"Tweety has slowly started hitting the ball real well each game and has had a couple hits in each of the last four games while Tomshack has been on fire," said Knights coach Don Usewick.
Barton had struck out and flied to center his first two times up, but jumped on Ziegler's first pitch in the sixth for the game's decisive blow.
"Mike pitched really well today and that's what we had to have against Wooden," said Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery. "He made two mistakes, sophomore mistakes, and they took advantage. But I was impressed with our concentration throughout the game, especially at the plate."
Old Mill got a two-out double from Chuck Manns in the first but Wooden got Brian Bogle to fly out. Wooden retired the next seven in a row before Manns got a hit past third baseman C. J. Jones and Bogle lined a single to right with one out in the fourth.
Manns raced to third on Bogle's hit and on the relay to third, Bogle took second. Wooden got the next two batters and wasn't in trouble again until the sixth.
Joe Barnes led off with a double in the alley in left center and Tim McGurk walked. Bogle's one-out sac fly and an RBI single to left by designated hitter Mark Wissman made it a 4-2 game before Wooden struck out Adam Tetlow.
Ziegler, who survived jams in the fifth and seventh innings, finished with a seven-hitter, four strikeouts and two walks.
Wooden retired the Patriots in order in the bottom of the seventh, striking out two to finish with nine strikeouts and one walk.