Baseball: Nick Brady pitches Madison to a 3-0 win over Langley in the Conference 6 final

May 23

Madison right-hander Nick Brady is known for his even-keel personality. He doesn’t display emotion when he picks up a big strikeout, and if a call isn’t in his favor he moves to the next pitch.

In Friday’s Conference 6 final at Madison, Brady was matched up with Nebraska signee and Langley ace Jake McSteen, the conference’s player of the year. Brady admitted to not having his best stuff, but he remained calm on the mound in allowing only one extra-base hit in five strong innings as Madison defeated Langley, 3-0.

The Princeton commit induced 11 groundball outs. His lone strikeout was a wicked change-up that left the batter looking.

“I felt like I was leaving it up in the zone a little bit,” Brady said. “But they were making contact and my defense had my back. My defense made a lot of plays to pick me up today.”

Brady’s mix of fastballs and cutters kept the ball on the ground and the Saxons off the base paths. He gave upa double to Patrick Amano-Dolan in the fifth and three singles.

He threw 48 pitches, and junior Brian Eckert struck out two batters and allowed one hit in two relief innings. The game took 88 minutes.

A major cog of the second-ranked Warhawks defense was third baseman Luke Belt. Belt threw several lasers from third to take away singles from Langley (13-9). In the fifth, a hard liner was hit toward Belt, who dived to make the catch. He couldn’t nab it but was able to bat it to the ground, and as soon as he got to his feet he launched the ball to first for the out.

“He’s just a great player,” Madison Coach Mark “Pudge” Gjormand said. “It’s what I expect because we’ve been watching him all year. It’s funny that other coaches make mention of him because they love watching him play.”

Madison received early run support from Owen Socher, who led off the first with a single to left. The ball was misplayed, and he reached third on the error. Two batters later, he scored on a passed ball.

The Warhawks added two more runs in the third inning, the first on a John DeFazio groundball to third that allowed Socher to score after the throw home went off the top of the catcher’s glove. The next batter, Pete Nielsen, laced a sacrifice fly to right to score Andrew DiFrancisco from third.

Madison (19-2) wouldn’t muster any more runs as the left-hander McSteen struck out seven batters with a speedy fastball and a nasty breaking pitch that created several awkward at-bats.

Friday’s Conference 6 win is the third title in four years for Madison, which will host the Conference 5 No. 4 team next Friday in the first round of the 6A North region tournament.

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