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Gaels shine brightly on gray day

March 29, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

About the only thing St. Maria Goretti baseball coach Mike Brashears may not have liked about Tuesday's game against Grace Academy was the weather.

A chilly, overcast, drizzly, dreary late afternoon failed to throw the Gaels off their game, as they pounded the Knights with 10 hits while Will Murray and Ryan Wilson combined on a five-inning, three-hit shutout in a 13-0 victory.

The Gaels (1-2) needed a confidence-boosting victory coming off losses in each of their first two games, and thanks in part to solid pitching, they got it against the undermanned Knights (0-1).

Murray allowed two hits and two walks while fanning three in his three innings before a sprained ankle sent him to the bench. Wilson moved from third base to toe the rubber in the final two innings and allowed one hit and hit a batter while fanning three.

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"We only have one pitcher returning with any experience, and that's (David) Plank, so anyone else pitching for us is pitching for the first time," Brashears said. "They threw strikes and got ahead of the hitters, and it was a good win for the guys."

Wilson led the Goretti offense with a two-run double, an RBI single and a rare sacrifice fly to the shortstop -- Matt Stine caught the ball while running backwards -- that scored a run.

Kevin Brashears and David Bowen each had two hits for the Gaels. Ryan Lipella drove in a pair of runs, one on what turned out to be a sacrifice fly when Pat Salvagno laid out to make a diving grab of Lipella's sinking liner for the play of the game.

Though the stat book won't show it, Grace pitcher Eric Hess performed well. He hit two batters but otherwise was around the strike zone throughout the game with his sidearm delivery. Five Knights errors hurt his cause.

"(Hess) threw really well for them," Mike Brashears said. "We asked our guys to keep their shoulder in and hit the ball the other way, and a few of them had some good cuts."

James Horochowski, Brian Stitely and Keith Sandell had the hits for Grace, which played without four players (three due to ineligibility, one due to injury) and had only nine in uniform.

"We have two All-(Mason Dixon Christian) Conference guys sitting out," Knights coach Brian Kelley said. "That hurt us."

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