ANDERSON — Austin MacMillan was struggling Saturday night with the game on the line.
The Pendleton Heights senior allowed the first two Anderson runners to reach base to start the seventh inning, and head coach Travis Keesling came out for a little chat on the mound.
His advice was simple: Calm down and take care of business.
MacMillan, who later admitted he was "a little bit too amped up," did just that. The Arabians' closer induced a pop fly for the first out then struck out the final two batters to wrap up the best championship game in the 14-year history of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament.
Pendleton Heights' 3-2 victory clinched the school's sixth tournament championship and made the Arabians the event's first repeat titlist.
"Actually, I was thinking about it in the bus on the way over," MacMillan said. "One-run game in the seventh inning, and I going to come in. That was huge."
The contest was a well-pitched gem on both sides.
Quentin Miller got the win after surrendering just two runs on four hits through the first six innings. His biggest hiccup came in the fourth inning when Drew Laughlin led off with a single and scored the Indians' first run on a single by Jordan Hill.
Tony Bova — who had also reached on a single — scored the second run on a passed ball following a strikeout. Miller ended the threat with a strikeout to strand Hill at second base, and Pendleton Heights held on to the one-run lead.
Keesling visited Miller on the mound during the inning, and the right-hander followed up by striking out the final two batters.
Pendleton Heights' offense helped Miller's cause by staking him to an early lead.
"That was real key," he said. "Going out to pitch with a lead really helps you to calm down, relax and do your job."