By Levi Trimble firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — With one hard swing, St. Joseph’s William Frank sent a ball over the left field fence, sending a message to Christian Central Academy.
That message, the Marauders are here to stay.
Pitcher Tyler Howard threw six innings of one-hit baseball, striking out 10 as St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute rolled up Christian Central, 9-0.
“I struggled at first, but then I was able to settle down and get it together,” Howard said. “I am looking to just keep everything rolling with good defense and strong pitching.”
Howard walked the first batter, Crusader pitcher Nathan Rarick, then gave up his only hit of the game to CCA second baseman Caleb Moser.
After a quick chat with St. Joe’s catcher David Archer, Howard put it all together, striking out the next three batters.
St. Joe’s broke open the scoring in the first when Anthony Brophy doubled to deep left-center, scoring right fielder Derek Penman.
Howard struck out two more in the second, with the third out coming when Archer gunned down CCA shortstop Alex Cook as he attempted to steal second.
The Crusaders threatened in the third when Rarick reached on a fielder’s choice, got a good jump off of first and narrowly escaped the strong-armed Archer’s throw to second, then moved over to third on a groundout.
CCA could not get past Howard, who got the final out to end the threat.
The top-seed Marauders doubled their lead in the bottom of the third when Frank knocked Penman in with a fielder’s choice.
Penman finished 2 for 3 with three runs and an RBI.
St. Joe’s added another run in the fourth when second baseman Gavin Borkowski doubled home Howard who reached with a double of his own earlier in the inning.
The Marauders put the game out of reach in the sixth. Pinch hitter Nicholas Courtney caught a pitch on the ankle to reach first. Borkowski moved him over to second with a single.
Left fielder Thomas Brummer hit a high fly ball within 15 feet of the centerfield fence that bounced off an outfielder’s glove, scoring both Courtney and Borkowski and landing Brummer on third. Borkowski finished 3 for 3.
Penman batted in Brummer with a single to the left-center gap, making the score 6-0. Brophy followed, getting a single of his own.
Frank was next up at the plate. Frank caught a fastball right down the middle, driving a monster three-run shot over the fence to clinch the game for the Marauders.
St. Joe’s coach Paul Nasca was not surprised by his team’s performance in the closing innings.
“It is a situation where we need to keep putting together at bats,” said Nasca. “We had contributions all throughout the lineup. Borkowski and Frank came through with some hits, Frank with the big three-run homer that really put the finishing spread on things.”
Though the Marauders clinched the top-seed, the lineup has been in flux due to injuries. However, stand-ins Borkowski and Penman both had a multi-hit game in relief of usual starters.
“It’s nice to have some guys to go to when you run into an injury. Then you have guys like Borkowski go out there who are starting for the first time in weeks and they have a three-hit game. It’s incredible,” said Nasca, who recently lost starter Matthew Ruggiero to a broken foot he suffered in batting practice. “It’s an unfortunate thing, but it’s a situation where the next guy has to be ready to go.”
Howard struck out the three batters he faced in the sixth before being pulled for Jacob Donn in the seventh. Donn struck out the side to close out the game.
The Marauders advance to host Cardinal O’Hara in the Georgetown Cup semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Nasca looks to the depth of his team to lead St. Joe’s to it’s third straight Georgetown Cup.
“We have a lot of guys who can go out there and get things done. Penman moved from infield and found himself in the outfield,” said Nasca. “He is batting a close to .400 and having a terrific season.”