Cary-Grove pitcher Dean Lee changed locations more often than a fugitive Wednesday.
The right-handed senior rarely threw his curveball, changeup or fastball in the same spot twice during a 3-0 Fox Valley Conference crossover victory against visiting Hampshire. Lee (3-1) held the Whip-Purs to 2 hits and 3 walks and struck out 3.
"I just tried to change levels, change speeds and get them in and off the plate," Lee said. "They were taking a lot of outside pitches and I recognized that. So I was shooting fastball outside, then came back with curveball inside, just to get them off the plate and mix it up."
The 95-pitch shutout lowered Lee's ERA to 2.07 in 27 innings.
"Dean pitched outstanding," Cary-Grove coach Don Sutherland said. "We felt like we could get a lead early, keep adding on and withstand a barrage by those guys, but it didn't happen. Dean just pitched so well and the defense played well."
Lee's effort outshined a 6-hitter by Hampshire left-hander Andrew Brown (1-2). The efficient junior needed only 77 pitches to complete 6 innings with 1 walk and a strikeout.
"My game plan was basically keep the ball low," Brown said. "Coach always tells me the only time you should throw up is when you puke."
Cary-Grove (15-5, 9-3) broke through for 2 unearned runs in the third inning. Brown was charged with a throwing error for pulling first baseman Colin Gogoel off the bag on Matt Ewert's slow roller. Courtesy runner John Gibbons advanced to second base on a wild pitch and scored on Hampshire's second error of the inning, a high throw from shortstop on Zach Marszal's groundball.
"I feel I was at fault for a lot of it because of that play over by the mound," Brown said of his error. "I threw the ball away and that opened the gates up."
Hot-hitting Brandon McCumber then drove in Marszal from second base by lining a 1-1 pitch to center field for a 2-0 Cary-Grove lead.
"The strike zone was low, so he went after that low pitch because he's a great student of the game," Sutherland said.
McCumber later provided a sixth-inning insurance run with a single to right field, again scoring Marszal from second base. In two Cary-Grove wins this week, McCumber is 5-for-6 with 2 doubles, raising his batting average to .429.
"I just try to hit it where it's pitched," McCumber said. "My second at-bat it was on the outside part of the plate and I was able to hit it up the middle. The last one was on the corner again. I just threw the bat at it and it fell."
Hampshire (9-10, 2-9) enjoyed its best scoring opportunity in the first inning. The Whips loaded the bases with two outs, thanks to a Mike Laramie single sandwiched between walks. However, Lee induced a groundout off the bat of Mike Merchut to first baseman Andrew Brierton to end the threat.
"I thought for sure we could make this a ballgame, which it was," Hampshire coach John Sarna said, "but we didn't take advantage with the bases loaded in that first inning."