There wasn’t much that went wrong for MacArthur starting pitcher Brandon Buchan Monday afternoon.
But even when he made a mistake, it turned into a positive for the Generals.
The lefthander pitched 6 1⁄3 scoreless innings, allowed three hits, two walks, one hit-by-pitch and struck out seven to earn the win and lead No. 3 MacArthur (19-3-1) past No. 2 Division (18-4), 9-0, in Game 1 of a best-of-three Nassau Class A semifinal series. The senior also went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
“I like to throw my fastball, get ahead, and go from there,” Buchan said. “My two-seamer runs, so I can throw that on the outside corner and get them to chase. At the plate, I just try to get my foot down early, see the ball, and hit it wherever it’s pitched.”
The turning point in the game came in the bottom of the third inning.
With a runner on first and one out, Buchan had the runner picked off, but the ensuing throw from first baseman Joe Keller went into leftfield. Leftfielder Joe Ricciardi picked up the ball and fired to third baseman Ryan Wall to nail the runner attempting to advance.
After the next batter walked, Buchan again threw over to first, but the throw went wide and rolled down the rightfield line. Keller scampered after the ball and fired to Wall, who tagged out the runner at third to end the inning.
“It was a big part of the game,” Buchan said. “We really carried over that momentum to the next inning.”
In the top of the third, Buchan drove in Keller with a hard shot down the first base line to give MacArthur a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Wall came up with two outs and laced a rocket to right to drive in Buchan and Ricciardi to cap a three-run inning and give the Generals all the runs they needed.
“Getting the first game is always the biggest one, because now we got that win out of the way,” Buchan said. “We now have the advantage and tomorrow [Tuesday] we just need to go out and win it.”
The second game of the series will take place Tuesday at MacArthur at 4:30 p.m.