Baseball

Jones strikes out 13 as Huskies blank Barrington, 2-0

Mt. Hope is now 2-0 in Division II

Story and photos by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 5/14/21

Sophomore pitcher AJ Jones struck out 13, while pitching a two hit, complete game shutout as Mt. Hope beat Barrington 2-0, at Guiteras Field on Thursday afternoon.

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Baseball

Jones strikes out 13 as Huskies blank Barrington, 2-0

Mt. Hope is now 2-0 in Division II

Posted

Sophomore pitcher AJ Jones struck out 13, while pitching a two hit, complete game shutout as Mt. Hope beat Barrington 2-0, at Guiteras Field on Thursday afternoon.

“The sky is the limit for AJ, said Huskies head coach Mike Mazzarella of his number two starter. “He’s got a live arm. He works hard in practice, it doesn’t really surprise me, what he does on the mound.” 

The hard throwing righty was impressive in his varsity debut striking out the side in the first, second and fifth innings. Jones mostly threw a blazing two seam fastball and sprinkled in a filthy curve to get out Barrington hitters in his seven innings of work. 

“We were definitely the underdog in that game and I think that we showed them who the better team was for sure,” Jones said after the game. “They were chirping early in the game. It felt good to shut them down.” 

Jones also saved a run in the sixth inning, with his fielding. Barrington catcher Jack Kriz singled, stole second base and went to third on a wild pitch. Another Jones pitch went off the mitt of Huskies catcher Jack Standish and Kriz broke for home. Jones met him there, took the throw from Standish and slapped the tag on Kriz at home plate to end the Eagles scoring threat.

The tall sinewy pitcher fanned the last two batters he faced and punctuated the victory with a fist pump before walking off the mound and celebrating with coaches and teammates.

 

Timely hitting and good base running fuels offense

Mt. Hope managed timely hitting and good base running from its offense as Barrington pitcher George Promades kept pace with Jones, striking out 5, on six hits in six innings of work.  

Huskies senior first baseman Matt Bracket led off the second inning with a single. Bracket moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Matt Gale’s RBI single to centerfield. 

“First at bat as a varsity player, he gets an RBI single,” said Coach Mazzarella. “Gale’s a sophomore. It’s really nice when to have the young guys produce when they get the opportunity. It turned out to be the winning run.” 

Gale moved to second when Jones hit a sharp grounder to Barrington third baseman Harry Turner, who bobbled the ball. Jones beat out the throw, giving Mt. Hope runners on first and second. Promades struck out senior centerfielder Dave Benevides and got sophomore third baseman Parker Camelo to fly out, to end the inning. 

 

Pitchers duel

Jones and Promades were dealing. The Huskies carried a narrow, 1-0 lead into the fifth inning, until senior left fielder Mike Nappi scored for Mt. Hope with some crafty base running. With one out, Nappi singled to reach first base. Coach Mazzarella gave him the signal to steal second base. Nappi took a big lead and when Promades went to the plate, he took off. Barrington catcher Jack Kriz wizzed the ball by second baseman Aaron Brady and into centerfield in an attempt to nab Nappi. The speedy Nappi rounded second and broke for third. He slid head first into the bag and beat the throw from Eagles centerfielder, JC Neimier. A pitch later, Nappi ran home on a Promades wild pitch, to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.

“Nappi’s here to hit,” said Coach Mazzarella. “And he’s a menace on the base path. It’s really nice to have that explosiveness. He’s always willing to do what ever he needs to for the team. That’s great to have.”  

Huskies senior second baseman Ethan Leary also singled in the fifth. With two outs, Leary attempted to steal second base, but pulled up lame. Kriz’s throw got by Brady, who stood on the bag. Leary, instead of sliding, grabbed his hamstring, stepped funny onto the bag and fell to the ground in pain. The injured Husky was awarded third base, seemingly for his own injury. He was replaced at third with pinch runner, sophomore Griffin Berardo. 

Promades stranded Berardo on third, getting Bracket to hit a grounder to Barrington first baseman Bennet Durkin. He stepped on the bag for the out to end the inning. 

Notes:

Play of the game, went to senior second baseman Ethan Leary. “Ethan made that nice diving catch to grab that ground ball in the gap,” said Coach Mazzarella. “He’s been with me since his freshman year. He’s been an anchor and a pillar for this program.” 

 

The injury to Leary came after the great play in the field and could prove costly for the Huskies, as the senior is the team’s number one pitcher. With the Covid shortened season, 13 games in about 4-5 weeks, the Huskies can’t afford to lose their best pitcher for long. “Hopefully we can get him back to health and get him on the field as soon as possible,” said Coach Mazzarella. “He’s someone we need to be successful this season.”

 

The Huskies defense made plays behind Jones to help  preserve the shut out.

“We pride ourselves on pitching and defense,” said Coach Mazzarella. This division is tough. There are no easy games. I feel like if we can pitch well and play defense we’ll have a solid chance every single game.”

 

The Huskies are off to 2-0 start in Division II. They beat Johnston 4-3 on Tuesday. “We are are going to keep grinding this year and hopefully make it to playoffs,” said Jones. 

 

Senior Seth Cloutier, the Huskies number three pitcher in the rotation, may see a lot more action if Leary stays out for a long stretch. “Seth’s more of a reliever,” said Coach Mazzarella of the lefty, “But it’s a grind this year. It’s nice to have Seth who can be a bull dog and log innings for us.” 

 

Junior pitcher Dayton VanAmberg may see some time this week as well. “Dayton is steady as eddy,” Coach Mazzarella said. “He does what he needs to do. He lives down the zone.”

 

The Huskies are five to six players deep on the mound, including junior Matt Terceiro. “It’s a nice luxury to have,” said Coach Mazzarella. 

 

 

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