MIDDLETOWN – After losing its first four games this season, Middletown South finally found the winning formula, and the fact that it came against previously unbeaten rival Middletown North made it all the more satisfying. “We really needed this game,” said winning pitcher Zac deRocco, who threw a sparkling two-hitter with six strikeouts in South’s 5-0 A Division North victory on April 10. “Hopefully it will get us on a run. It was great that it came against our top rival.”
The pitcher actually had a no-hitter going until one out in the sixth inning when North’s Kyle Capo singled up the middle to break it up.
“I knew in the fourth inning that I had something going,” said deRocco.
“I just left a pitch over the middle of the plate on that hit. I wanted the no-hitter, but getting the shutout was great.”
South wasted no time in grabbing the lead as it scored twice in the first inning on three singles and a pair of North errors.
“We were making mental mistakes this season,” said South coach Ryan Spillane, “but today we played well and played good defense.
“We lost three games by a total of four runs,” he said. “Today we did all the little things. deRocco is a senior and it was nice that he came through for us. He threw very well.”
North’s best chance came in the second inning when deRocco hit Walter Schopf and Tyler Ras was safe on a one-out error. However, catcher Zach Schild picked a runner off second base and deRocco ended the inning with a ground-out.
South made it 3-0 in the second inning on an RBI single by Freddy Yahn. The Eagles added solo runs in the third and fourth innings on a sacrifice fly and RBI double by Ben Porpora.
“My fastball was my best pitch early in the game,” said deRocco. “Then I went to the change-up. We always have a lot of energy when we play North.
“It felt good to get those early runs,” he said. “I had a good defense behind me and we needed this game. We didn’t want to go 0-5.”
“He did a good job keeping us off balance,” said North’s new coach, Justin Nathanson. “He gained confidence because we have a good hitting team. We had been playing good ball until this game.”
– By Jim Hintelmann
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