Arizona Pitcher Strikes Out 14

7/18/05 – Daily News Record

By MICHAEL ROTHSTEIN Daily News-Record Dominant. It’s the sole word that comes close to describing Brad Mills’ performance on the mound Sunday. The left-hander from Arizona struck out the first four Covington batters he faced and Harrisonburg cruised from there, defeating the Lumberjacks 4-0 in a Valley League baseball game at Memorial Stadium. "It didn’t matter what I put down," said Harrisonburg catcher Matt Sluder, who called the game from behind the plate. "They weren’t doing anything with any pitches. A few times, I knew they were sitting on the first-pitch fastball and once they started doing that, it’s even more downhill from there for them." Mills struck out 14 Covington batters. Were it not for a Tony Thomas error in the second inning, he would have had a perfect game with nine strikeouts through 4 2/3 innings. The only mistake Mills made all night was with Sluder, when the pair became confused on what pitch was to be thrown. The miscue caused Sluder to get "clocked" in the left shoulder and sent the catcher to the mound. Otherwise, nothing fazed the junior from Mesa, Ariz., who baffled Covington (21-13) and helped the Turks improve to 19-16. "I know that if I throw and hit my spots and throw for strikes, they aren’t going to have a huge shot," said Mills, who had his longest outing of the season. "If you throw too many fastballs, they’ll make contact. I started mixing it up from inning one." Mills looked toward his change-up, a pitch he said he hasn’t had for much of the summer or during his season at Arizona, where he pitched merely 13 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. "I don’t know what kind of pitching staff they have but if a kid like that only throws 14 innings, they must have one heck of a pitching staff," Harrisonburg coach Bob Wease said. "He’s one of the best pitchers we’ve had out here in a while." Covington 000 000 000—0 3 2 Harrisonburg 001 200 10x—4 8 1 Wade, Seten (7), Kearcher (8) and Halm, Mercado (8). Mills, Fessler (9) and Sluder. W—Mills (4-0); L—Wade (2-2).