Cole Michelson pitched a one-hitter and struck out nine for US9 Prospects on Friday.
By Luis Torres
Cole Michelson looked over at the runner at first base before looking back toward the batter’s box as he readied to deliver a 1-2 pitch.
Michelson, a right-handed pitcher, was looking to polish off a gem of a performance. He got set and delivered the ball to the plate.
He got a swinging strikeout, his ninth punch out of his outing as Michelson’s gem lifted US9 Prospects Navy 14U to an 8-0 win in five innings over Wladyka American in 14U Beat the Heat play on Friday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
Michelson allowed just one hit and walked one batter and allowed just three base runners. None of the three reached past second base.
“I was just trying to come in and do what I do,” Michelson said. “My fastball was working pretty well, and I felt good after the first couple of innings, so I just tried to stick with it.”
Michelson was economical in his start, tossing 75 pitches, and never really labored throughout his outing.
He recorded at least two strikeouts in four of his five innings and didn’t throw more than 22 pitches in any frame. Michelson threw 12 pitches each in the first two innings and 13 more in the third, settling into an early groove.
“It definitely boosts it,” Michelson said of his confidence when getting out of innings quickly. “Defense played well, not many mistakes. It’s great to get off to a fast start and get back in the dugout and try to hit.”
His teammates gave him early run support in the top of the second inning.
Michael Melvin hit a one-out single and then stole second base. Melvin eventually opened the scoring when he came around to score on an error. He was one of the catalysts for the offense, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI.
US 9 Prospect coach Ryan Marini chats with his team following the fourth inning.
That run in the second inning proved to be enough for Michelson, who threw strikes and got ahead of Wladyka American’s hitters.
“Unbelievable. He’s the captain for a reason. I gave him the ball out of the gate, and he just took care of business,” US9 Prospects Navy coach Ryan Marini said. “Literally, he’s been good all year, but there’s something about Diamond Nation that gets this guy going.”
US9 Prospects broke the game open in the top of the fifth inning when they scored six runs on four hits, sending 10 hitters to the plate.
Mike Landers went 1-for-3 and hit a two-run triple in the fifth inning. Nicholas Marini reached base safely three times, going 1-for-1 with two walks. Michelson helped himself in the fifth inning, drawing a walk and coming around to score, and he provided the leadership his coach spoke about each time he finished off an inning on the mound.
“He gets the other guys going, and it makes it easier,” Ryan Marini said. “He’s kind of a quiet leader, though. He doesn’t say much. But he balls out every time.”