Jack Dufficy began the Monmouth Liberty scoring with an RBI double in the first inning.
By Rich Bevensee
It was exceptional timing on Will McCarthy’s part that his experimental sinker was working and his pitch location was better than most days.
McCarthy’s timing couldn’t have been worse for the Prime Time Aces, who made the trip north from Alexandria, Va., to test their mettle in the Northeast.
Mixing his sinker with his fastball and curve, McCarthy pitched six shutout innings and steered the Monmouth Liberty Baseball Club to a 5-2 victory in the 16U Halloween Mash on Saturday afternoon at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
“It was a pretty good outing but I definitely have had better,” said McCarthy, who began toying with a sinker last month. “I think the best thing I did was that I was hitting my spots with the fastball. Today was a good day.”
McCarthy pitches for Middletown South High and takes his high school courses at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), which is located in the Fort Hancock historic area at the tip of Sandy Hook.
On Saturday McCarthy, a 6-2, 160-pound righty, scattered five hits and two walks while striking out six for Monmouth. He stranded five runners in scoring position.
“I think Will pitched fantastic,” Liberty coach Mark Russo said. “He did a great job mixing up pitches, mixing up speeds, keeping them off balance.”
McCarthy escaped his most serious jam in the fifth inning when the Aces loaded the bases with one out with a fielder’s choice, a walk and a single. McCarthy got a strikeout and a fly out to keep the shutout intact.
“He kept us off balance by mixing and matching,” Aces coach John Skaggs said. “He never doubled up. He didn’t come fastball, fastball. He’d go fastball, off-speed, or off-speed than fast. He kept us guessing at the plate.”
The Liberty backed McCarthy’s effort with bits of offense early and often. In the bottom of the first inning Jack Dufficy roped a double to right center which scored Danny Tsimbinos for a 1-0 lead.
Monmouth picked up two more runs in the second when Will Fahey scored from third on a wild pitch and Tsimbinos plated Michael Frandsen with a sacrifice fly.
Pete Christopher forced home Monmouth’s fourth run with a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning. And in the fifth, Fahey stole home when the Aces had to throw to first to retire Frandsen after a dropped third strike.
To the Aces’ credit, they never let any inning get out of control, and the bottom of the fourth inning served as a perfect example.
Monmouth loaded the bases with two singles (Justin Fuerbacher and Gavin Toth) and a walk (Nico Amecangelo), but could only push across one run, thanks to Christopher’s base on balls. Aces starter Alex Frymoyer struck out the next two and received a tremendous defensive gem from first baseman Jack Rubin, who ranged back and to his right to snare a line drive from Carmine DeCrescenzo for the final out of the inning.
Monmouth repaid that effort in the top of the fifth, with McCarthy retiring the side after loading the bases. McCarthy stepped aside for relievers DeCrescenzo and Fahey after 81 pitches.
The Aces finally broke through in the seventh with two runs when Frymoyer shot a double into the left center gap to score Cam Gonzalez and Beau Branch. With runners on first and second and the tying run at the plate. Fahey retired Kieran Sacks on a soft liner for the final out of the game.
“We had opportunities but we just didn’t capitalize,” Skaggs said. “We had two runs in the last inning but we didn’t show that energy in the beginning of the game. They didn’t have much energy either, but enough to get a few runs more than us.”
Frymoyer allowed four runs on five hits and five walks in five innings with four strikeouts. Ryan Beck pitched two innings in relief and yielded a run on three hits and struck out two.
The Aces bounced back from the Monmouth loss by sliding past Baseball U Anthracite, 2-1, and they were to finish pool play with a Sunday game against Untamed Baseball.
The Liberty flexed its offensive muscle in the second half of its Saturday doubleheader by wiping out Untamed, 12-0. Monmouth will take on Baseball U Anthracite on Sunday.