It was just another close game by the Williamsport Crosscutters that featured outstanding pitching, solid defense and timely hitting Thursday night.
So what else is new?
When the issue was finally in the books, the Cutters defeated the Tri-City Valley Cats, 3-2, before 2,095 fans at Bowman Field on Keystone Little League night at the ballpark.
"We can play close games with the best of them," said Cutters manager Mickey Morandini. "The bottom line is that we are winning close games and that is good to see."
After making only two starts while battling through a shoulder injury last year, Perci Garner made his initial start of the 2011 season after four appearances out of the Cutter bullpen and it was a good one.
For his efforts, Garner worked 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out six and walking nobody.
"He (Garner) has pitched well. He has pitched well since he came back from the injury," said Morandini. "He has three above average pitches, he throws hard and he has a good breaking ball as well as a changeup. He didn't have his real good breaking ball tonight like he normally does, but overall, I thought he threw very well."
For Garner it was a change of pace as a starter compared to coming out of the bullpen.
"Being a reliever you come to the field early and you do everything. You run and by the time game time comes along, you are somewhat tired," Garner said. "When you are a starter, you get to rest all day and come to the field at 5:30 and (Thursday) I just felt really energized. I have been working with (pitching coach Lance Carter) and he has my mechanics down and my confidence is really up."
Not only did Garner have all three of his pitches working, he also felt good physically and mentally.
"I felt good and I was able to keep my velocity up," he said. "The breaking ball was there for me and when that is working it makes it easier to pitch. You just have to make sure that you stay focused on every pitch because if you don't, it is easy to slip."
Cody Fick worked two innings in the middle of the game before Jim Birmingham and Gabriel Arias came on to close out the win.
With the Cutter lead in jeopardy, Birmingham came in with the bases loaded and promptly struck out Justin Gominsky and Rafael Valenzuela to put out the fire.
"Once again pitching was the key for us," said Morandini. "Birmingham came in with that bases-loaded situation and did a heckuva job. He was aggressive with his fastball and threw some good hooks to give us some length and that was what we needed from him."
Cutters pitchers struck out 15 ValleyCat batters, and, according to Morandini, that can be both good and not so good.
"I don't think we are really a big strikeout team, but obviously that helps," he said. "You can look at it in two ways. You are throwing a lot of pitches when you are striking guys out, but secondly, it also means you have good stuff and (Thursday), I thought all of our pitchers had good stuff."