Catholic advances with offensive showcase, strong performance from McFarland

June 6, 2021 | 12:03 am

Updated June 5, 2021 | 11:35 pm

Gage Johnson | Owensboro Times

Muhlenberg County put pressure on Owensboro Catholic right out of the gate, but the Aces responded swiftly and never looked back, securing a 10-3 win and advancing to the second round of the Third Region baseball tournament.

Sam McFarland got off to a rocky start in the first inning. He didn’t give up a single hit, but walked and hit the bases loaded with one out.

Finley Munsey nearly saved the inning with a diving stop, but a throwing error led to an early 2-0 lead going into the bottom of first inning for the Mustangs.

But the Aces bounced back in the bottom half of the first, quickly loading the bases with one out.  Braden Mundy sent a laser to right field for a two-RBI double the next at-bat, making it 2-2 with runners in scoring position and one out for Owensboro Catholic.

Back-to-back walks led to another run for the Aces, with a wild pitch and a passed ball making it a 5-2 lead for them two batters later.

Muhlenberg County tagged on one in the top of the third to cut its deficit to 5-3, but the Aces answered right back in the bottom of the fourth.

Owensboro Catholic started the inning with back-to-back singles, before a double from Everett Munsey cleared the bases and made it 7-3. Small singled shortly after, giving the Aces an 8-3 lead going into the fifth.

The Mustangs posed a small threat loading the bases with two outs in the top half of the inning, but a warning track shot was snagged to keep Owensboro Catholic out in front 8-3.

The Aces got two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, but that was more than enough run support for them to advance to the second round with a 10-3 victory.

McFarland did a solid job of rebounding from his early struggles throwing a 116-pitch complete game, striking out five while giving up one earned run on seven hits.

Mundey said it was McFarland’s approach on the mound that turned his performance around against Muhlenberg County.

“Just a different mindset,” Mundey said. “I mean he came out there knowing that they would put the ball in play, but you gotta trust your defense to back you up and we did.”

McFarland throwing the complete game is huge for the Owensboro Catholic staff going forward, as Head Coach Derek Hibbs now has multiple pitchers ready to go against Hancock County.

“Sam battled today,” Hibbs said. “You know he didn’t have strikeout stuff, but he kept them off balance getting through seven. Throwing a complete game there is huge and not using any other pitching going forward.”

Nearly every player for the Aces registered a hit in the game, with Hunter Small notching two hits to lead the team with four RBIs.

Now with 30 wins on the season, Owensboro Catholic will take on Hancock County at 5:30 p.m. on June 7.

“Hancock’s playing well at the right time,” Hibbs said. “They got in beating Breckenridge and they got a win today. They’ll be confident. They’ll be ready to play us tomorrow. I don’t care if we’re 2-0 against them this season or not. Every game is different, every game is new.”

June 6, 2021 | 12:03 am

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