By Ted Waddell
MONTICELLO May 18, 2001 It started out as a rough day for Monticello hurler Rich Fello, but he hunkered down to pull off a 4-2 win in Tuesdays OCIAA Division IV baseball game against Burke Catholic.
Fello yielded a couple of runs in the first, and in the bottom of the frame was hit in the face by the ball as he slid into third.
But the senior went on to a pitch four-hitter, dusting some feathers off the Eagles with 10 strikeouts. He hurled 108 leather wrapped orbs across the plate. In the fifth, he pitched his way out of trouble, leaving two runners in the scoring position nest.
In the first inning, Burkes lead off hitter Chris Dowd walked. Kyle Reed was hit by a pitch. An RBI single by Steve Morino scored Dowd, and Reed crossed the plate on a passed ball to put Burke up 2-0.
In the bottom of the first, Monticello earned a run the hard way, but closed out the frame with a runner stranded on the hot corner.
After the leadoff batter popped out, Fello singled and moved to second on a passed ball. Phil Stewart walked to place runners at first and second. With a quick runner at second, Monticello coach John Spear called for a double steal and Fello was hit square on the cheekbone while sliding into third.
The blues ruled that the ball had rolled out of play, and awarded Fello a trip across the plate to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
Brian Heavey led off the Panthers fourth with a single. Jon Freeman laid down a bunt along the third base line, luring the Eagles third baseman into firing it to first which allowed Heavy to leg it to third.
A sacrifice fly by Todd Herfield scored Heavey to tie it up 2-2.
In the sixth inning Heavey singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a passed ball to put the home team out front 3-2.
Herfield tripled in the sixth and scored on a wild pitch to close out the Panthers 4-2 victory.
I think they played well, and we missed a few opportunities, said Burke Catholic coach James Kelly. Weve been struggling all year, no doubt about it. Weve been making small fundamental mistakes, and not cashing in on opportunities.
According to Spear, he can count on Fello to pitch a complete game, whether he gets into trouble early or is hit in the face by a wayward hot ball on the way to a tagout.
Spear said the teams other starting hurler was recently pitched off the team for disciplinary problems.
Now the big question is who will fill in his spot in the pitching rotation, he said.
On Thursday, shortstop Heavey will take to the mound against Burke at their house.
Spear summed up Tuesdays win, The game was really a microcosm of our season. We dont have a lot of hitters, but we have good pitching and when we play good defense, we can win. When we make errors, we lose.
As the regular season draws to a close, the Panthers have their eye on making it to the playoffs, but need to win three of their remaining four games to get there.
Our immediate goal is to make the sectionals, said Spear. But its not going to be easy.