Apr. 7—Sophomore Andrew Kocan wasn’t even supposed to be playing varsity baseball this year. Canon-McMillan is glad he is.
Kocan went from being a JV player to varsity hero Tuesday when he went 2 for 2 with a home run and two RBIs in helping the Big Macs win their section opener, 5-2 over Mt. Lebanon.
“With Kocan, he was on the JV team. I like his swing, but I thought, let’s keep him JV. He’s a young kid,” Canon-McMillan fifth-year coach Tim Bruzdewicz said. “Then I was told, let’s give him a chance. Let’s watch him and see what he does.
In his first at-bat in the third inning with Canon-McMillan trailing 2-0, he delivered the first hit off Mt. Lebanon starter junior Derrick Shields.
The single led to the Big Macs tying the score on an RBI single by senior Kolson DeSocio followed by a Blue Devils error.
In the fourth inning, after a bunt was popped back to the pitcher leading to what looked like a rally-killing double play, Kocan crushed a Shields pitch over the fence in deep left-center field to put the Big Macs up for good.
In his final at-bat, Kocan smacked a pitch from Mt. Lebanon sophomore reliever Tyler Smith to deep left center field, but it was caught for a long sacrifice fly for the game’s final run.
Senior Brandon Adams was excellent in relief for Canon-McMillan (1-0, 2-2), pitching four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit with two walks and a pair of strikeouts against Mt. Lebanon (0-1, 1-2).
Adams came into the game to replace senior Matthew Graeber after a leadoff single in the fourth inning. Graeber gave up two runs — one earned — in three innings.
It was the second time Bruzdewicz had Graeber and Adams sharing mound duties this season. The other game was the Big Macs other victory this season, a 4-2 win over Seneca Valley.
“We consider BA (Adams) one of our No. 1s,” Bruzdewicz said. “He comes into the game, he commands the strike zone with three pitches. He can throw inside. With Matt Graeber, he’s 6-7, and he comes right down on you.”
The Blue Devils scored single runs in the second and third innings but had chances for more early. They left a runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings, with two runners left on in the second and third innings.
The difference in the game was Mt. Lebanon failed to get the big hit when one was needed, and Canon-McMillan delivered in the clutch, scoring five runs on eight hits.
A perfect example of the opportunistic Big Macs was how they scored the final run in the sixth inning.
Senior Blake Stanton was hit by a pitch, went to second base on a wild pitch, to third base on a passed ball and scored on a sac fly.
The same two teams meet Wednesday at Wildcat Field in Mt. Lebanon.
“Honestly, I love our pitching staff,” Bruzdewicz said. “They’re going to see more (Wednesday). We got two good guys going (Wednesday).”