AUBURN – Andy Allen found his swagger, the St. Dom’s defense found its footing and the Freeport offense might even now still be looking for a break, a hit, or anything that doesn’t resemble a bagel.
Allen threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout thanks in large part to some terrific defense to lead the Saints (7-1) to a 3-0 win over the visiting Falcons at St. Dom’s on Thursday afternoon.
“Today, along with defense and getting (Allen) to show the consistency and the swagger that he needs to show, we got some production from the bottom part of the lineup,” said St. Dom’s coach Bob Blackman.
Allen started the fourth of five games for the Saints this week, and finished it, throwing 107 pitches over seven innings.
“I was getting a bit tired at the end,” admitted Allen. “I had to rely a lot on the fastball today because I couldn’t get the curveball going very well. I just tried to hit my spots, move it inside, outside, high and low.”
Only one Freeport (4-7) runner reached third base, and that came on the Saints’ only miscue of the game, a throwing error by shortstop Peter Lewis.
Otherwise, the Saints’ defense was stellar. Tom Edgecomb got things going early with back-to-back catches in right field, the second of which was a diving play in shallow right-center.
“It just stayed in the air a lot longer than I thought it was going to,” said Edgecomb. “I thought I might have a chance, and in practice, that’s what I do. I dive all over the place. They say I have no nerves.”
Second-baseman Casey Parker punctuated the Saints’ solid defensive outing with two plays in the top of the sixth inning. With the leadoff runner on after a single, Parker sat at double-play depth, close to second base.
“Coach told me to move over a few feet,” said Parker. “It was big to play defense like this because Andy pitched well.”
“We try to get the kids to be aware of where the ball might go based on the pitches being thrown and the batters,” said Blackman.
“He was in the right spot.”
Seven pitches later, Bejay Perkins lined a hard shot up the middle – right to a shifted Parker, who fired back to first for the double play. A double and a hit batter later, Parker flipped a ground ball to Lewis at second base for the third out of the inning, ending the Falcons’ threat.
Offense was a bit harder to come by. Freeport starter Ben Wheeler was efficient if not overpowering, keeping the Saints’ hitters off-balance all night.
“He’s one of our normal infielders,” said Freeport coach Hank Ogilvy. “He’s a kid that I know can pitch. He throws strikes and his curveball was fantastic today. They were backing off the plate or they were swinging at it.”
In the second, Edgecomb delivered a two-run single to left field, scoring Allen and designated hitter Tom Gosselin for the only runs the Saints would need. Catcher Mike Carpenter crossed the plate after reaching on an error in the sixth on a Greg Labonte single to finish the scoring, giving St. Dom’s its fourth win in four days.