CARY – In a meeting between two of the area’s top pitching aces, Cary-Grove’s Brandon McCumber allowed two singles to his mound foe, Tyler Hall of Crystal Lake South.
And returning the favor, Hall surrendered two hits to McCumber as well on Saturday morning.
Both pitchers were at the top of their games in Saturday’s Fox Valley Conference contest as Cary-Grove (12-3) knocked Crystal Lake South from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 2-0 victory.
Winning pitcher McCumber tipped his hat to the hard-luck loser Hall.
“He’s really good,’’ McCumber said. “He throws a lot of strikes.”
McCumber had just one 1-2-3 inning and pitched around a South fourth inning in which the Gators (10-1) loaded the bases on errors. He scattered six hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter.
“My fastball was working,’’ he said. “And so was my cut fastball. It’s like a hard slider. I was really able to locate my fastball.”
Hall brought out a dazzling curve ball and fanned eight Trojans. He didn’t face any trouble until the third inning when he issued his lone walk. An infield error kept the inning alive for Matt Ewert, who snuck an infield hit to left field. Ryan Dundon scored what proved to be the winning run.
“I think I had everything going for me,’’ Hall said. “We just couldn’t get our bats going.”
South had some chances. Hall’s first hit came with two outs in the second and followed by another hit from Garrett Bright. That’s where that rally ended.
“We just couldn’t put our hits together,’’ said CLS coach Brian Bogda. “Their boy (McCumber) did a nice job. But I’m really proud of Tyler’s performance. He kept us in the game.”
Hall seemed to get stronger as the game went on, and at one point, he struck out three straight heading to the sixth inning. That’s when the Trojans added an insurance run.
Ewert hit his second single of the contest to open the sixth. One out later, he stole second base.
McCumber came up to battle once again against Hall.
“I watched a couple of curve balls,’’ he said. “And then on a 3-2 pitch, I was able to get a hit.”
Cary coach Don Sutherland noted that his ace, McCumber, had been under the weather in the past week.
“He had been sick last week,’’ Sutherland said. “But Brandon has a great temperament for baseball. He just doesn’t worry.”
Sutherland also applauded the work of Hall.
“That kid hurt us last year,’’ he said.
The Gators put runners on base in the last two innings against McCumber. Max Meitzler ripped a hit to right field in the sixth but was thrown out at second trying to stretch that into a double. Hall led off the final inning with his second hit. but was out on a double play.
In defeat, Hall allowed just five hits.