Nick Lovarco of 9ers Baseball had two hits and drove in two runs on Wednesday night.
Shaun O’Keefe mowed down the nine batters he faced while the 9ers Baseball 2022 lineup erupted for six runs in the first three innings on its way to a 9-1 victory over Full Count Prospects 18U in a Garden State Scout League game last night at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
The lefty O’Keefe, committed to George Mason University, used a deceptive array of pitches that included two-seam and four-seam fastballs, curveball and changeup to keep the Full Count lineup off balance.
“My curveball was not necessarily at its best but my changeup had perfect sink tonight,” said O’Keefe, a senior at Donovan Catholic High School in Toms River. “My four-seamer cuts in on righties and my two-seamer tails out.”
O’Keefe was on a typically low fall pitch count of roughly 35 and made the most of those precious few pitches with his three perfect innings. He struck out three, including the last two batters he faced. It’s clear George Mason will be getting a good one though it won’t see the 6-1, 185-pound O’Keefe until September of 2023 when he is likely to have even more polish to his arsenal. “I reclassified to 2023 and will go to community college next year.”
O’Keefe, also offered by University of Maine, committed to George Mason in late June.
O’Keefe left the game with a 6-0 lead as his 9ers Baseball teammates amassed nine hits in the early going. The 9ers struck for five runs in the second inning and one run in the third. Every batter in the 9ers Baseball lineup reached base at least once and all but one scored a run in the five-inning game.
Matt Scrivanic triggered the big rally in the second with a leadoff triple to straightaway center field. Kyle Pollack knocked him in with a one-out single through the left side. Nick Lovarco, the 9ers’ leadoff hitter, delivered two runs with a bases-loaded single and Jack Frankovic followed with a running-scoring infield single. Lovarco scored the fifth run of the inning on a throwing error.
Joe Giori led off the third with a single into left-center field and he scored when Scrivanic’s single to left was misplayed into two bases. Pollack would reach on an infield single, Joe Gmitter singled to left and Frankie Scrivanic drew a walk to load the bases but Full Count’s righty reliever John Oranchak struck out O’Keefe to get out of further trouble.
Full Count broke up the no-hit bid with one out in the fourth when Jack O’Donnell blooped a single over third base. O’Donnell took second base on a wild pitch and scored easily on Anthony Davis, Jr.’s two-out single to left-center field.
The 9ers put themselves in position to win via the eight-run mercy rule when they struck for three runs in the top of the fifth. Gmitter drew a leadoff walk but was gunned down trying to steal second. Frankie Scrivanic walked and Jake Burt was hit by a pitch to put the 9ers back in business. Jack Frankovic singled to left to load the bases with two outs before Giori and Matt Scrivanic drew back-to-back bases- loaded walks to boost the lead to 8-1. Matt Rigby was at the plate when Frankovic raced home on a wild pitch to forge the much-desired 9-1 margin and eight-run lead.
Burt ensured his team would get an early end to the game when he pitched a scoreless bottom of the fifth around a one-out single by Luke Somelofske.
The 9ers would finish with 11 hits and did a nice job spreading the wealth. Lovaco went 2-for-3 with a walk, scored a run and drove in two. Frankovic had two singles and a double in four trips, drove in a run and scored a run. Giori was on base three times, drawing a pair of walks, singling and driving in a run. He also scored a run. Matt Scrivanic went 2-for-3 with a triple, scored a run and drove in a run. Pollack was 2-for-3, scored a run and drove in a run. Gmitter had two singles and drew two walks in three trips and scored a run. Frankie Scrivanic walked in all three at bats and scored twice.
9ers Baseball 2022 also made one fine defensive play. Catcher Pollack pounced on Eric Pydeski’s bouncer in front of the plate and fired to first for the second out of the second inning.
9ers Baseball improved to 2-2 in the Garden State Scout League and Full Count fell to 0-3-1.