Gaithersburg High School starting pitcher Nick DeCarlo said he felt “lifeless” during the first two innings of Wednesday's game with Prince George's County powerhouse Eleanor Roosevelt at Kelley Park and that his curveball wasn't “effective.”
After a brief internal conversion — “I told myself, `I have to pick the intensity up,'” said DeCarlo — the Trojans right-hander rediscovered the feel for his curveball, which he used to set up his blazing fastball, and completely dominated the Raiders en route to an 11-1, five-inning victory.
DeCarlo, in fact, finished the game with six straight strikeouts, including two of the no-look variety, and had 12 strikeouts for the game. His lone blemish came on a couple of mental mistakes made by his defense that led to Roosevelt's run in the first inning.
Trevor Allen doubled to left center field and then scored on a shallow single by Kyle Fletcher. Gaithersburg struggled to get the ball back into the infield on Fletcher's hit to right field, allowing Fletcher to head to second base. The Trojans tried to throw him out there, allowing Allen to score.
DeCarlo (1-0, 2.69 ERA) followed that sequence of events with 12 straight outs, including 10 through strikeouts.
“I was able to throw my curveball for strikes,” DeCarlo said. “That allowed me to use my fastball more often. I need my curveball to work for me to be effective.”
Roosevelt starter Aaron Hunt pitched well during his four-plus innings of work, but he and reliever Isaiah Lopez were defeated by some costly errors and some timely hitting by the Trojans.
“I think [the pitchers] did enough. We just didn't make routine plays,” Raiders coach Andrew Capece said. “I would say probably nine or 10 of their runs were unearned. You can't give a good team extra outs [and] we struck out way too many times. We've just got to put the ball in play.”
The Trojans (4-2) struck for two runs in the bottom of the first on a two-run, two-out error at second base that allowed Evan Colon and Trey Martinez to score. They added another one in the fourth on a safety squeeze bunt by J.P. Herbert that followed a double by Dakota Durant and a sacrifice bunt by Scotty Hermann.
Gaithersburg scored eight runs in the fifth inning to end the game prematurely through a combination of six hits and a trio of errors. Martinez closed out the contest with a two-run double to deep left field.
“We had not being swinging the bat well at all,” Trojans coach Jeff Rabberman said. “We worked hard in practice. We worked on shortening our swing and choking up with two strikes. If you hit line drives and hit the ball on the ground, you're going to be successful.
“It's a great win. They're a team that could very well win their region and play in the state semifinals. The score is not indicative of the game. We were able to break it open in the fifth.”
Gaithersburg 11, Eleanor Roosevelt 1
Eleanor Roosevelt (4-1) 1 0 0 0 0 — 1 3 4
Gaithersburg (4-2) 2 0 0 1 8 — 11 9 1
WP — Nick DeCarlo (1-0). LP — Aaron Hunt (1-1). 2B: ER — Trevor Allen. GB — Evan Colon. RBI: Dakota Durant 2, Nick DeCarlo, Peter Galvin, J.P. Herbert, Trey Martinez, Nick Pantos, Jake Thomas.