Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Junior ace Ben Kapito pitched six scoreless innings and struck out 11 as Monticello blanked Eldred 6-0 in the season opener for both teams.
Kapito pitches Monti past Eldred
Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO April 12, 2013 Monticello coach Mike Greco touted his pitching rotation prior to the season: "I think this is probably the deepest rotation Monticello has ever seen," affirmed the first year coach.
At the top of that five-deep rotation is junior Ben Kapito whom Greco calls his ace.
Kapito proved more than worthy of that designation Tuesday throwing 76 pitches in six innings, striking out 11 batters in a 6-0 rout of Eldred in the Panthers’ season opener. Kapito even batted-in what would essentially turn out to be the winning run in the bottom of the third frame, ripping a single to center on a full count that scored Jon Harned for a 1-0 lead.
"My two-seamer was running a lot today, so that helped a lot," said Kapito. "I could locate it inside for righties and obviously away for lefties, so I just used that to my advantage. I just threw that all day."
The Panthers though they consistently put runners on the bases didn't do much scoring, carrying that 1-0 lead into a long sixth inning where they pushed across five runs on Eric Lepes, Eldred's fourth pitcher of the day.
"What happened today was that a lot of times we were putting guys on base, but we were just not getting that clutch hit for one reason or another," said Greco.
"What we were getting were a lot of situational hits. Those hits got us to the spot, but we weren't finishing. So much of that not finishing were line drives at somebody with two outs. We were definitely hitting the ball solid, but we kept hitting it solid at someone."
In Monticello’s half of the sixth, David Watkins reached on a walk and Jack Drapkin followed with a sharp single to center moving Watkins to third. Freshman Shaun Jackson would step up next, and after Drapkin's uncontested steal of second, Jackson would hit a routine bouncer to third. But senior Anthony Margarum mishandled the ball scoring Watkins, giving Monticello a 2-0 lead and opening the floodgates.
Later in the inning, with the score 3-0, runners on second and third and just one out, Harned crushed a double to deep center-field scoring Jackson and Dustin Thomas and putting the game out of reach. Harned would score the game’s final run on a sacrifice by Anthony Bell.
Andrew Krotje replaced Kapito in the seventh retiring three of five batters to preserve the shutout.
Offered Greco on his ace, "Ben is Ben. Ben is the ace and Ben knows he's the ace, and acts accordingly. The guys rally behind Ben and all you're gonna see is a team that's ready and plays behind him.
“A lot of times when a kid like that throws and there's not a lot of contact, the kids fall asleep behind him. This team doesn't for Ben. They know Ben is there for them and they're there for Ben."