Only focused, one could excuse Monsignor McClancy (N.Y.) pitcher Charlie Neuweiler for not knowing he had just done something special.
“Honestly, I didn’t know till I came back to the dugout (following the game),” he said. “I was that focused and locked in.”
In his team’s Mingo Bay Classic opener, the Crusaders’ junior hurler failed to give up a hit Tuesday night in his team’s 11-1 win over Myrtle Beach.
Needing only 69 pitches, Neuweiler struck out nine Seahawks while walking one.
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“That’s about as good a power pitcher we’ll see until the playoffs,” said Myrtle Beach baseball coach Tim Christy. “When you run against a power arm like that, especially one with a good breaking ball, you have to be aggressive early in the count. I don’t believe we did a good job of that tonight.”
While it was Neuweiler’s night, other Crusaders contributed mightily in the win – maybe none more so than center fielder Quentin Holmes.
The Mississippi State commit set the tone from his first at-bat, knocking Zack Coble’s fourth pitch of the game into right field for a base hit. Moments later, the speedster would find himself in scoring position, swiping second base.
It was a move that paid dividends in the first inning, and each frame that followed for that matter.
“I like to (put pressure on pitchers) to give the second batter a better look at the plate,” Holmes said. “Often, they’ll begin to see a lot more fast balls that way, trying to make sure they couldn’t get me out. In one case, they tried to pitch out and wound up throwing two balls when I didn’t even run.”
McClancy scored in each of the first three innings, aided in large part by aggressive base-running and Coble’s inability to throw strikes. Despite being thoroughly in control of the game, it was unable to put it away early on, stranding three more runners during the same span.
The Crusaders made things a tad more interesting in the fourth, committing three errors – two of which came courtesy of second baseman Justin Mateo – helping Myrtle Beach cut their lead to 3-1.
But just as it seemed the Seahawks would make a game of it, five walks and an error created an insurmountable avalanche that would intensify with an RBI base hit courtesy of McClancy right fielder Ronald Clinton, followed immediately by a 3-run homer off the bat of Holmes.
The McClancy center fielder went 2-for-2 on the night, reaching base two more times on walks.
“You could tell by that time we had just got a bit fatigued,” Christy said. “I told (Coble) before the inning that we were around the maximum amount of pitches we wanted him to throw in a game, and it really showed in that fifth inning.”
Coble struck out five on the night, giving up eight runs.
For McClancy coach Nick Melito, the win served as a perfect start for what he hopes is a deep run for his team – both in the Mingo Bay Classic and their season as well.
“We’re off to a good start, but our season gets started on April 6 so we are getting ready for that,” he said. “We know it is not going to happen like this every night, but it’s what we are kind of looking for.”
▪ W: Charlie Neuweiler L: Zack Coble Top hitters: MCH: Quentin Holmes 2-for-2, HR, 3 RBI, 4 R. Steve Hansen 1-for-2, Ronald Clinton 1-for-2 .