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Archbishop Curley Falls To St. Andrew’s

Third baseman Nick Chiappetta and infielder Jason Otis congratulate each other after Chiapetta's fourth inning run.

A pitcher’s best friends are usually a solid defense and nice early lead.

St. Andrew’s Scots senior pitcher Richie Rocca helped his own cause early on by being one of the catalysts to a three-run first inning against the Archbishop Curley Knights (0-2) on Wednesday night. Rocca’s single and his teammates’ ability to put the ball in play contributed to the team’s 15-3 season-opening win.

Rocca finished the game 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. On the mound, he recorded three innings, five strikeouts, and gave up three runs, two of which were earned. Rocca said he was unaffected by having to pitch after running the bases in every inning that he pitched.

“When you’re pitching and hitting, you have to help yourself out and try to steal some bags, and do whatever you can to score some runs,” Rocca said.

St. Andrew’s Manager Billy Horn was impressed overall with the senior’s first game of the season. He still would like to see Rocca exhibit more mental toughness on the mound.

“Richie had a great approach,” Horn said. “He is a veteran and a leader. At the plate, he always seems to come through. He really gave himself the opportunity to put us ahead. On the mound, he didn’t throw many first-pitch strikes. I think his mental toughness was alright, but I know he is much tougher than that. I’d like to see him come out next time a little more aggressive attacking the strike zone.”

The Scots scored three runs in the first by hitting singles and making contact to force the defense to make some plays. The offense followed up the second inning and third innings with a patient approach, which resulted in four and five runs, respectively. Lead-off hitter Jon Frector reached base all three innings and scored each time. Scots first baseman Nick Chiappetta, who logged in the first RBI of the game with a line drive single up the middle, felt the offense did a great job of making contact.

“I think our one and two guys did the job and got on base,” Chiappetta, who finished the night 2-for-2 with two single, an RBI, and a walk, said.

Even though the Scots started the season with an overall dominating performance, Horn still saw some fundamentals he would like to see his team work on.

Jason Spitzberg prepares to swing during an at-bat in his team's 15-3 victory.

“We came out; we were aggressive. I did like that. We kept our feet on the gas pedal,” Horn said. “Fundamentally, there were some things I didn’t like. We weren’t hustling on and off the field, we were not communicating well on pop ups and ground balls. You need to hustle, and we deal with that accordingly. You don’t respect the game, we’re going to take you out of the game.”

After Rocca’s three innings, Max Costello shut the door with two innings of work. Despite entering the game with a 14-3 lead, Costello says he did not change his approach.

“I was just thinking the same thing as always, I have to throw strikes and and just shut them down,” Costello said. “My two-seam fastball and cutter were working well for me.”

On the other side of the mound, the Knights had freshman Yorangel Gonzalez battle through some tough innings. Coach Jerry Yeash was still impressed with his control and stuff. He hopes his young team’s fielding basics and instincts will improve as the season goes on.

“We didn’t field as well in some innings,” Yeash said. “We gave up too many outs. Our pitcher threw real well. If we would’ve made a couple of plays, we would’ve gotten out of innings a little quicker.”

Center-fielder Steven Garcia went 2-for-3 with an RBI double to deep center, and pitcher David Diaz relieved Gonzalez and limited the Scots bats to three runs in two innings of work.

St. Andrew’s heads back home to face Cardinal Newman High School on Feb. 17 at 4:00 pm while Archbishop Curley will be playing on the road against the Dade Christian Crusaders on Friday Feb 13 at 4:00 pm.

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