Tegan Kuhns was electric on the mound for the Gettysburg baseball team in its District 3 Class 5A playoff opener on Monday.
The freshman allowed just two runs, one of which was earned, and four hits over six innings of work and struck out nine batters along the way.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, opposing starter Alex Krick was just a little bit better to help host Muhlenburg to a 2-0 victory, ending the playoff hopes for Gettysburg.
“He was great. That’s exactly what we figured we’d get out of him,” Gettysburg coach Ryan Brady said of Kuhns. “I know he’s a freshman, but at this point in the season he’s not really a freshman anymore. He’s more like a sophomore. The only thing we asked for him today was to keep us in the game and give us a chance and he did that.”
Kuhns, who also bats leadoff for the Warriors (13-8), reached base to start the game after a dropped strike three and then found himself on third just moments later after a Bryce Rudisill single made it first and third with none down. However, Krick then picked Kuhns off third before registering two more strikeouts to end the inning.
After Kuhn retired the side in order in the bottom half, the Warriors again threatened in the second. Penn commit Marshall Mott started the inning with a double to the left field corner, and three batters later Gettysburg had the bases loaded with one down thanks to a Chris Boone bunt single.
Once again Krick was able to dig in. The Mules’ (12-6) junior struck out Logan Newell and Kuhns to end the threat without any damage done.
“It’s tough,” Brady said of his team staying motivated after the early falters. “We hit a couple balls hard right at guys. That kind of was deflating a little bit. Cody Furman hit a ball right on the nose and the center fielder made a great play. You know, if he hits that to the gap it’s second and third with no outs. It’s one of those things where we’ve got to find other ways to score runs.”
Kuhns worked around a double to pitch a scoreless second. After the Warriors failed to get going in their half of the third, Muhlenburg took the lead with two outs in their half. Luis Beato took a 1-0 Kuhns pitch deep over the center field wall to make it 1-0 and send the home fans into a frenzy.
From that point on, however, the Gettysburg righty dazzled. He set the Mules down in order in both the fourth and fifth innings, including three of his nine strikeouts.
“It was crazy,” Kuhns said of getting the ball in a big spot. “But I just had to go out there and do my job and my slider was working really well tonight.”
Still, the Warriors could not breach Krick, who finished with 12 strikeouts to just two walks over seven shutout innings.
The bottom of the sixth saw the Mules’ ace get some insurance. Beato reached on an error with one out. He then stole second and advanced to third on an error. After a walk made it first and third, Muhlenburg attempted a double steal. Gettysburg appeared to have Beato in a pickle, but Boone’s throw home eluded Furman and the score was 2-0. Kuhns was then able to induce a fly out and a strikeout of Sam Martinez to limit the damage.
“He’s pitched in big games before, so it wasn’t a surprise to us that he was able to handle that,” Brady said.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the seventh inning looked much like the previous six at the dish. Krick struck out Braden Manning and Furman to start the frame before getting Boone to roll one over to shortstop to end the game.
“He’s going to be playing at the next level so we knew he was a pretty good pitcher,” Brady said of Krick. “The 5A district tournament is always tough and you know you’re going to be facing an ace.”
Despite the loss, Kuhns said he won’t be discouraged.
“It just makes me want to come back better and be back next year,” he said. “For sure, it definitely motivates me.”
Gettysburg 000 000 0 — 0 5 3
Muhlenburg 000 101 X — 2 4 0
Tegan Kuhns and Cody Furman; Alex Krick and Kyle Miller. WP: Krick. LP: Kuhns. SO-BB: G-Kuhns 9-2; M-Krick 12-2. 2B: G-Marshall Mott; M-Sam Martinez. HR: M-Luis Beato.