There’s not a lot that seems to faze Holden McHugh.
Light rain? Nah.
Gusting winds? Nope.
Two runners on with one out in a one-run game? Just another day.
The Admiral senior had to buckle down at times on Monday but ultimately did more than enough to pitch No. 1 Gulfport past visiting Southaven 1-0 to open the inaugural Battle at the Beach baseball tournament.
“He pitched great,” Gulfport coach Jamie McMahon said of McHugh. “He was a bulldog tonight.”
McHugh scattered three hits and a hit batter over seven innings, striking out seven.
“I was mixing in a lot of pitches, throwing a lot of strikes and getting a lot of ground balls. Basically I just let my defense work,” McHugh said. “You could say that’s a typical outing for me, just doing what I do best on the mound.”
Southaven (5-3) had a runner in the first erased on an ill-advised steal attempt. The Chargers then had their first two batters single in the second inning before McHugh retired three straight. The Chargers didn’t really threaten again until the sixth inning.
As the mist turned to light rain, and with the wind picking up, McHugh seemed unfazed. With runners on first and second and one out, McHugh struck out Southaven’s cleanup hitter and then busted the next batter inside, inducing a harmless popup back into his glove. He then pitched a perfect seventh inning, striking out the game’s final two batters to secure the victory.
“I grew up playing in this weather so I’m kind of used to it. I actually like pitching in the rain, believe it or not. I feel good pitching in it,” McHugh said. “I knew I had to make outs so I mixed pitches real well, got a strikeout here and there and then got that pitch in on the hands to get the pop up back to me.
“Just another typical day on the mound.”
Late arriving fans missed all the scoring as the Admirals (10-1) plated the game’s lone run in the bottom of the first.
Dillon Brown walked to lead off the frame and then dashed around the bases when a single off Castor Lee’s bat bounced past Southaven’s left fielder.
It looked like the Admirals might have the makings of a rout, but Chargers starter Austin Kolwyck did a good job of keeping his team within striking distance. Unfortunately for the Chargers, it was just “another typical day” for McHugh, who has yet to surrender an earned run in 12 innings this season.