It was dead silent during Zack Mitchell’s at-bat in the bottom of the second.
Mitchell, the Indians’ shortstop, was facing a 2-2 pitch with one out when a voice rang out, saying, “I’ll give you a dollar if you get a hit right now!”
Mitchell, whose nickname is “Z-Unit,” must’ve had the money on his mind and his mind on the money.
He responded by pounding a double to right-center that scored Jonathan Poole to put the Indians on the board and give them the lead they’d ride all the way to a 3-1 win against Weaver in the first round of the Calhoun County baseball tournament.
“They gave me a dollar too,” Mitchell said. “I just saw a curveball and saw that I could rip it. I got me a piece.”
It was his only hit of the night, as he finished 1-for-3.
“We do stuff like that all the time,” Mitchell said, referring to his teammates’ shenanigans.
“Sometimes, it gets on your nerves,” said pitcher Caleb Vice.
Vice, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore, went all seven innings to pick up his third victory on the young season and keep his record spotless.
“I just try to stay focused and try not to get nervous,” Vice said. “I don’t even pay attention to the batters that much. I just throw the ball at the mitt every time.”
Vice maintained one-run lead for the final three innings after the Bearcats’ Tyler Freeman scored from third on an error in the top of the fourth.
Second-year Ohatchee coach David Box said he never thought about pulling his starter.
Vice kept the Indians’ grip on to a one-run lead until the bottom of the sixth, when Ohatchee freshman shortstop Riley Allen stroked a two-out RBI double to left to give Vice some insurance.
“This is his second time pitching seven innings,” said Box, who’s had stints at B.B. Comer and Talladega. “I’ve always been the type that if he’s doing good, I’ll let him go, and (Friday night) he was doing OK. So, I let him rock.”
Vice retired 10 of the last 14 batters he faced.
“I think he just zones out when he’s up there,” Box said. “He doesn’t think about the hitters too much and just throws the baseball. That’s all you want out of a hitter and it helps that he’s a big strong kid.”
Josh Welden started for Weaver before Jarod Smith came on in the fourth inning.
For their efforts, the Indians will get to take on top-seeded Oxford —had a bye in the first round — in the quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. today at Alexandria. Weaver’s record drops to 2-6. The Bearcats will face Piedmont at home next Friday.
“This is huge,” Box said of the win. “We’re 6-2 now. We didn’t win but two games last year. This year’s bunch is different. They’ve done a great job and they come to practice to work everyday.”