Unlike the Buffs, who can probably beat Nathan Hale without using freshman pitching ace Mason Ross, Norman said he’ll have a tougher time figuring out which pitcher to throw against the Chargers. Austin Joines, Brandon Maynard and Brandon Robison have been Durant’s top three pitchers this season, but Norman said not one has been a true ace.
“The big problem is we’re young,” Norman said. “We have three seniors, and we’re just about average all the way through.”
Norman said that because Memorial and Durant were in the same district last season, he’s familiar with a couple of Memorial’s players. That includes, Adam Keller, Memorial’s senior pitching ace.
“He repeats his delivery very well. He’s very consistent,” Memorial coach Steve Irvine said of Keller. “He doesn’t let the game get to big, and he’s constantly in the strike zone.”
Keller also heads to Regionals allowing just 0.7 runs per game.
Bond said he hasn’t yet decided who’ll pitch against Nathan Hale. Having never seen Memorial, Bond said he’ll use that Durant-Memorial game to decide if he’d rather throw Ross in the semifinals or save him for Thursday.
“I feel like our pitching is deep enough that we could go and possibly win without Mason on the mound,” Bond said.
Bond said Taylor Mullins was the Buffs’ No. 2 pitcher earlier in the season, but Mullins hasn’t been able to pitch as much lately due to a tweaked back. If Ross doesn’t pitch, Grant Sontag, Brandon Green or Dalton Wood could all get the start.
“He can be as good as anybody,” Bond said of Green. “He’s already beaten Grove, which is the No. 2 seed in Shawnee’s regional.
Mullins is the only player battling an injury heading into Regionals, Bond said. And while being physically healthy is certainly important, tournaments can be as mentally draining as they are physically exhausting.