Baseball U Philly pitcher Ryan Cavanaugh (center) gets approval from teammates Lukas Mullen (left) and Logan Hinds (right) after striking out the side.
By Sean Reilly
Ryan Cavanaugh offers proof that the best pitching plan is oftentimes the simplest one.
The right-hander from Baseball U Philly 17U, a rising senior at Harry S. Truman High School has had an outstanding summer season.
His formula: Throw fastballs, have command of the strike zone, and challenge opposing hitters to make contact.
“I just try to throw as many fastballs as I can until they prove they can hit it,” he said. “It’s about the location and making sure that I’m throwing strikes. We see if they can hit the fastball, and once they prove it, we’ll change it up.”
Cavanaugh was dominant in his final start of the season, when Baseball U Philly faced Full Count Baseball Prospects 17U in a Super 25 Showcase Series 17/18U matchup on Tuesday afternoon at Diamond Nation.
Cavanaugh worked the first five innings and allowed two hits, struck out 13 (12 swinging), walked four and hit a batter as Baseball U Philly 17U gained a 7-2 victory in Flemington.
Cavanaugh struck out three batters in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings. Of those, he struck out the side in order in the second and fourth.
“He was fantastic,” Baseball U Philly coach Kyle Fleming said. “Especially the first four innings, he was absolutely lights out. He was using mainly fastballs and locating. He’s been that way all summer. This was nothing new for us. If the fastball is working, keep it going until they prove they can hit it.”
Baseball U Philly rallied for the first three runs of the game in the third inning, all with two outs. The first two batters struck out against Full Count hurler Adrian Rojas before Michael Morrow reached on a double when the center and right fielders collided without injuries on his fly ball hit between the two.
The next batter was Mikey Amrhein, the 12th man in the lineup. He responded with a RBI single to right field. Logan Hinds added a single through the middle, and both runners scored on a double by Jake Pope.
Cavanaugh continued to dominate, and the Baseball U Philly bats added four more runs in the top of the fourth.
Brian Curry led off that inning by reaching on an error, Nathan Kress grounded out to advance the runner and Lukas Mullen walked on a full count. After a double steal, Luke Hardknock supplied an RBI single. Hardnock stole second to put runners on second and third, and Sam Labrecque hit a two-run double to the left field corner. Labrecque scored when Gabriel Marrero ripped an opposite field double to the right field corner.
Central Jersey-based Full Count Baseball eventually touched Cavanaugh for two runs in the fifth, a combination of better plate discipline and a pitch that broke a string in catcher Mullen’s mitt, causing him to switch to a smaller model that resulted in a couple of passed balls and a disruption in their pitcher/catcher rhythm.
The first hit of the game for Full Count Baseball was by Eric Pydeski with one out in the fifth, and he scored on a bases-loaded walk to Ian Acevedo with two out. Tino Lobozzo followed with a run-scoring single to right field. Cavanaugh then ended his outing and summer season with a strikeout.
The first 11 of his strikeouts were all swinging.
“We threw two or three changeups and a curveball or two, but otherwise it was all fastballs,” Cavanaugh said. “It was a good way to go out.”
Baseball U Philly added a 4-0 victory over Wladyka Baseball Red later in the afternoon for a 2-2 finish at the event. Full Count Baseball lost 9-1 to the Taconic Rangers later in the day for a 0-4 finish.