Every time Brady McCormack takes the mound at Sam Martin Field to compete in the boys 9-10 junior league, people expect something special to happen. The Farm Bureau pitcher threw a perfect game to open the season and combined with teammate Brennan Keaton to toss a no-hitter recently as well.
McCormack was neither perfect, nor did hold State Farm hitless Thursday, but his 14 strikeouts led Farm Bureau to a 10-0 shutout.
McCormack also added two hits as Farm Bureau improved to 5-2 overall, good for second place in the boys 9-10 junior league. His contributions on offense helped, but his performance on the mound stole the show.
After hitting the first batter of the game with a pitch, McCormack responded with three straight strikeouts. He made it four in a row to start the second inning before Elijah Fults broke up the no-hitter with a single. Not deterred, McCormack fanned back-to-back batters to get to six strikeouts through two innings.
Before McCormack could take the mound in the third inning, Farm Bureau would build a 5-0 lead. Ethan Bernhardt and Christian Rogers each had RBI doubles while Ben Rivers and McCormack added run-scoring singles in the second inning. McCormack made it a five-run lead by stealing home on a passed ball.
Joey Rasori would come up with State Farm’s second hit in the third inning, but it was sandwiched between strikeouts as McCormack continued to torture batters with his blazing fastball and array of offspeed pitches. McCormack retired the final seven batters he faced in order, six by way of strikeout.
Farm Bureau built its lead to 9-0 in the third inning after RBI singles by Rivers, Rogers, McCormack and Kaleb Bell. Rogers added the finishing touches in the fifth inning when his double scored Rivers and enacted the league’s 10-run mercy rule.
Rivers finished a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate to lead the Farm Bureau offense. Rogers was right behind with three hits, followed by McCormack and Bell with two hits apiece. Bernhardt, Tony Curtis and Brady Pegg had one hit each.
Noah Martin took the loss for State Farm as he pitched five innings and finished with seven strikeouts.
In other junior league action Thursday, Homeland Bank won a 1-0 nail biter against Gary Steele Karate to forge a three-way tie for third place.
Jake Jones continued his brilliant work on the mound Thursday by tossing a three-hit shutout to lead Homeland to its fourth victory. Jones also scored the game’s only run, coming in on a Will Wrisner single in the third inning.
Jones came up clutch in the bottom of the fifth inning when his eighth strikeout ended the game with the bases loaded.
Wrisner, Justin Brantley and Hayden Lytle each had hits in the win for Homeland Bank to improve the team’s record to 4-3.
Jared Scruggs, Braden Bottoms and Donivan Scruggs had hits for Gary Steele Karate, which fell to 4-3. Bottoms took the loss despite giving up just three hits and striking out 14.