HOSCHTON -- Andrew Wise gets his swings in practice, but the junior rarely gets a call off the Mill Creek bench.
That changed Wednesday night when Hawks coach Doug Jones, playing a hunch, brought the junior in during a bases loaded situation with his team trailing Mountain View and its star pitcher, A.J. Moore, 1-0.
Wise delivered with a huge, two-run single in the fifth inning that plated the Hawks' only two runs in a 2-1, Region 7-AAAAAA victory over the visiting Bears. It also finally provided some offense for Mill Creek starter Shane Seckinger, who pitched a two-hitter and allowed just one unearned run in the first inning.
"I was trying to relax, get the bat head out and get the win," Wise said.
Mill Creek (9-6, 3-1 region), which had stranded six runners through four innings against Moore, started their fifth-inning rally when another pinch-hitter, Chad Henderson, lined a single off the glove of leaping Mountain View shortstop Forrest Girardeau.
With one out, Moore walked Bryan Hudson and Tyler Boldt. That's when Jones turned to the seldom-used Wise.
"Henderson came in and gave us a little spark with the base hit," Jones said. "Andrew Wise's second at-bat all year long. He's been working his tail off, he got an opportunity and got a big hit. I'm really happy for him. ... He's just been working at his craft. He got our attention in practice, got an opportunity and made the most of it."
Seckinger finished off his complete-game effort from there. He struck out four batters, walked two and gave up only two hits, back-to-back singles by Peyton Fore and Beau Blair to start the fourth inning. He pitched out of that trouble, the only issues he encountered since his defense failed him in the first inning.
Back-to-back errors on the game's first two batters led to Mountain View (8-8, 2-2) scoring a run without a hit. But the Bears couldn't muster much else against the Mill Creek senior.
"That's Shane. If he can throw his curveball and changeup, if he's got three pitches working, he's always going to be tough," Jones said. "He's not the hardest thrower in the world, but when you can command a changeup and a breaking ball, it makes your fastball that much better. He located well. He kept his pitch count down. I tip my hat to him."
Moore held Mill Creek in check much of the night, too. The junior allowed just five hits --two by Logan Moseley --and managed to pitch out of trouble most of the game.
He struck out six batters and walked three in five innings before being replaced by Garry Gwaltney, who pitched a perfect sixth.
"Shane does a great job of keeping hitters off balance and he did that against us, held us to two hits," Mountain View coach Jason Johnson said. "He made some big pitches when he needed to. We had a couple of opportunities and didn't execute when we needed to.
"As far as A.J., he did a pretty good job. He threw a lot of pitches, got himself down in counts. He didn't do as good as job as we would like of getting ahead of hitters and putting guys away. He was getting deep into a lot of counts, but hey, he battled. He gave up two runs against a really good ball club."