Johnny Mac Red Thunder road trip brings both highs and lows for team

By STEPHEN GLOVER

After advancing out of bracket play this past weekend in Louisville, Ky., the Johnny Mac Red Thunder defeated the Flames of Clarksville, Tenn., 5-4 in nine innings Saturday.

“It was actually a pretty big win for us,” Johnny Mac head coach Nick Beckmann told the Call.

“They scored three on us in the first inning and then Steve Braun hit a ball into right center field gap in the ninth to drive in Joe Leake,” the coach added.

Braun was 3-5 with two singles, a double and the game-winning run batted in.

Johnny Mac starting pitcher Tom McVey threw a solid seven innings in which he gave up four runs on 10 hits. McVey also struck out four and walked two in the no-decision effort.

“Tom had a rough outing earlier in the week,” Beckmann explained. “It seemed like every (Clarksville) hitter he faced, he got them into an 0-2 situation and then just played with them. He had a really good outing.”

Matt Ikemeier relieved McVey and pulled out the win as he gave up just two walks and stuck out two in two innings pitched.

“Matt’s pretty much a workhorse,” Beck-mann said. “We called on him to shut them down, and he did.”

On Sunday the Thunder dropped a disappointing 7-5 decision to the Nashville Out-laws, which eliminated Johnny Mac from tournament play.

“We got down early and we couldn’t hit their pitcher in the first few innings,” Beckmann said. “All of a sudden we were down 7-0 after three innings.”

But the Thunder refused to quit.

“The kids battled and never quit,” Beck-mann said. “We had the tying run on first with one out.”

Johnny Mac starting pitcher Tom Belgeri went just 1 1/3 innings as he gave up seven runs on six hits. Belgeri also walked two and hit one batter while striking out one in the loss to the Outlaws.

“Tommy got roughed up a little bit,” Beckmann said. “They hit him pretty hard, and I know he’ll want to get back out there to get past this game.”

Belgeri was relieved by Ikemeier who went 42/3 innings and gave up no runs and just two hits. Ikemeier also walked four and struck out five in the no decision effort.

“Matt really battled them,” Beckmann said. “When they got runners in scoring position, he really bared down.”

Up next for Johnny Mac is the Hoosier Wood Bat Classic this weekend in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“I really like the wood bat tournaments a lot more than the aluminum ones, and the boys like the wood bat tournaments too,” Beckmann said. “All wood-bat tournaments are a little bit more exciting.”