Blackhawk’s McKay Continues Scoreless Innings Streak

Sunday, May 18, 2014 | 1:29 AM

It was a pitcher’s duel for five innings at Pullman Park, but in the end Brendan McKay came out on top again as Blackhawk defeated Indiana 4-0 to advance to the Class AAA WPIAL baseball semifinals. The senior moved into third place in the National Federation of High Schools record book, pitching 65 consecutive innings without allowing a run, dating back to last season.The national record is 80 innings by Joey Porter in Mississippi in 1973. 

McKay allowed two hits, two walks and struck out 16 Indiana batters to go to 6-0 on the season and 28-1 on his career. The punchout of Trent Ream to end the game was the 350th of the lefty’s time at Blackhawk. McKay is projected to go in the top five rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft in June, with some possibly saying he could go in the first or second round. McKay has signed with Louisville if he decides to forgo a professional career following the draft.

Sean Thompson started for Indiana and the Virginia Commonwealth recruit was outstanding thru his first five innings, allowing just one hit and fanning 8 over that period. The senior also had one hit, a two out double in the fourth inning.

McKay struck out the first five batters of the game. He had a scare in third when Kevin Jack took one deep to right field, but Rich Rowe found the fence and made the catch with his back touching the wall. After the Thompson extra base hit, McKay struck out the next four batters. The left hander caught a break in the top of the sixth when Bo Putt led off by walking. He stole second base but slid past the bag and was tagged out.

Blackhawk took advantage of two Indiana errors in the bottom of the sixth to score all four runs. Chase Miglore reached base on Jordan Hudzick’s second throwing error of the game, as both sailed high into the netting that protects the fans in the first base bleachers. The miscue allowed Miglore to advance to second. McKay then singled to get Miglore to third. With runners at the corners, Joe Campagna, the fourth best hitter in the WPIAL regular season with a .553 average, struck out on high heat from Thompson. With one out, the Indiana staff elected to set the middle infielders back to try and get a double play and get out of the inning. Cody Bain hit a grounder that looked like it was headed up the middle, but shortstop Jack fielded the ball, could not get the middle runner and threw wildly to first, allowing both runners to score and Bain to go to second. Jake Emge struck out as did Dante Parente, but catcher Cole Shaffer could not handle the pitch. Parente got down the line to give Blackhawk another runner. Coach Bob Amalia elected to start Parente on the hit and run and Duncan Miklos put the ball directly thru the hole on the right side. His single scored both runners and gave Blackhawk and McKay a four run lead.

Indiana did not go quietly, Ryan Creps led off the inning with a walk and stole second. After Thompson struck out, Blackhawk elected to allow Creps to take third base. With the scoreless streak on the line, McKay fanned both Zach Schultz and Ream to end the game.

Amalia said after the game that it was a great battle. He credited his defense, especially Rowe and Emge for their play. The veteran coach also said Thompson was the best pitcher that he had faced all season and that the 13-7 record coming in for the Indians was not reflective of their talent. The Blackhawk program has produced 15 Division I recruits during Amalia’s tenure, but he said that there is no one he would rather have on the mound in any game than McKay.

McKay said he was reminded of a playoff game with Thomas Jefferson in his sophomore year at North Allegheny, when he battled Pitt recrut Greg Schneider for nine innings. Blackhawk goes to 13-2 overall. The Cougars will meet West Mifflin in the semifinals. Amalia would not name his starting pitcher for the game, likely on Wednesday. When asked the same question, McKay smiled and said he would like the ball. Chances are good that he will get his way.

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