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High school baseball: Fusilli pitches Immaculate Heart over Watertown

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WATERTOWN — With a major-league like schedule of six games in six days this week due to all of the postponements, Immaculate Heart Central baseball coach Mike Delaney desperately needed some effective innings from his starter Monday as the Cavaliers began a grueling Frontier Leaguestretch.

Right on cue, sophomore right-hander Jake Fusilli overcame some early struggles to pitch a complete game and help boost IHC to an 11-3 “A” Division victory over Watertown at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

Fusilli allowed two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first. But he settled down and yielded just three more hits the rest of the way, striking out five and walking only one in an effective route-going performance.

“I got the ball up a little the first inning,” Fusilli said. “But when I started locating my fastball for better strikes, I felt better.”

IHC also played errorless ball behind Fusilli, which was a welcome sight for Delaney.

“We haven’t been a great defensive team so far, but today we made all the routine plays,” Delaney said. “Jake usually throws a lot of strikes, and today was no different. He mixed a few curves with his fastball and got the ball down pretty well after that first inning.”

Nick Lavin and Collin Jorden reached Fusilli for back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the first, and Joseph Freda followed with a two-run double to put the Cyclones (5-3 overall, 3-1 league) on top 2-0.

But Fusilli worked out of further trouble and did not allow another hit until the fifth, by which time IHC (8-1, 5-0) had taken a 6-2 lead.

IHC tied it at 2-2 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Spencer Sharlow and an RBI single from Jude Fusilli off WHS starter Christian Jorden.

Jake Fusilli helped his own cause with a run-scoring single in the third to make it 3-2. And Robin Massey’s solo home run highlighted a three-run IHC fourth when the Cavaliers took advantage of a WHS throwing error to score two unearned runs.

Vincenzo Alteri delivered a two-run single, and Massey, who finished 3-for-5, also singled in a run as IHC scored three insurance runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh.

“I was really pleased with how sharply we hit the ball today,” Delaney said. “Hitting live pitching is just so different than hitting in the (batting cage), which we’ve done most of this spring. Today, I thought we got a lot of good swings in good hitting counts.”

Jake Fusilli also had three hits and Miles Sexton two for IHC, which totaled 12 hits.

Freda’s fielder’s choice drove in the only other WHS run. Collin Jorden led the Cyclones with two hits.

“That’s been the story of our year,” said WHS coach Matt Covey. “We score early then our bats go cold. And today we just made too many mental mistakes in the field.”

Normally, Covey would have gone with his ace, junior right-hander Jarrod Bellinger. But he is nursing a sore elbow, and his status for the rest of the year on the mound is in question. That does not help the Cyclone staff with three more games on the schedule this week and four more next week.

Delaney thought about taking out Jake Fusilli for the seventh, but Fusilli talked his coach out of exiting. “I told coach I still felt good, and that my pitch count wasn’t that high,” Fusilli said. “I really wanted to finish what I started.”

With games against Carthage today, General Brown Wednesday and Friday, Indian River Thursday and South Jefferson Saturday, Delaney will need all the pitching he can get.

“Jake will probably have to come back on Saturday if we don’t get a rainout and our other pitchers do a good job,” Delaney said.


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