Baseball: Perachi on target as Shepaug blanks Gilbert
WASHINGTON — Just to be safe, Shepaug High School baseball coach Scott Werkhoven had a couple pitchers warmed up and ready to go if Dominic Perachi ran out gas or ran into trouble in the seventh inning.
He need not have worried.
Perachi looked as strong as ever in tossing a 1-2-3 seventh inning — including a pair of backward Ks to end the game — to cap a masterful complete-game performance in the Spartans’ 9-0 victory over Gilbert at Ted Alex Field on Monday. The tall, junior lefty took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and finished with a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.
“He did a good job of getting ahead of guys and mixing it up,” Werkhoven said, noting that Perachi had pitched a little on Friday, so he was coming in on short rest. “He kept them right there until we could get it going a little bit and score some runs. When he throws strikes and gets ahead of guys, he can be tough.”
Shepaug (9-0) remained undefeated, and with each win has come a little more confidence. The Spartans are pretty excited about what may be in store for them later this season.
“Our goal is to make it to the (state) championship this year and hopefully win it,” Perachi said.
However, as Werkhoven made sure to point out, it’s still early.
“We’re happy with where we are, and we’re just trying to focus on today,” the coach said. “We’re trying to keep it simple here. We don’t want to start looking ahead.”
The final score doesn’t quite indicate how close this game was. Aside from two big innings — four runs in the third and five in the sixth — Gilbert starting pitcher Devin Matthews and reliever Will Hubbard were quite effective.
“I was really happy with the way we came out and competed,” Gilbert coach Patrick Cooke said. “Dom threw a nice game and kept our kids off-balance. He’s a big reason they’re 9-0.”
The Spartans made several key defensive plays to make sure Perachi didn’t get into any trouble. The Yellowjackets put two on with one out in the fourth on an error and a hit batter. After Perachi recorded a big strikeout for the second out, Shepaug second baseman Kyle LaMay made a nifty backhanded snare of a humpback liner up the middle to end the inning.
David Castillo spoiled Perachi’s no-hit bid with a sharp single to right field with two outs in the fifth inning. However, Spartans shortstop Owen Hibbard extinguished any thoughts of a Gilbert rally against the next batter when he flashed up the middle to field a grounder behind second base and threw to first for the third out.
Kyle Matthews lined a single to center with two outs in the sixth inning and was Gilbert’s fifth and final base-runner (he had also walked in the second inning). One batter later, Hibbard made another nice play to end that threat.
“It’s definitely a great feeling to have a defense behind you that can make almost every play,” Perachi said.
The Spartan bats came alive and produced four runs in the third. Alan Stinson set the table with a one-out double, and Jack Pesce followed by drawing a walk. Ethan Hibbard then clubbed a two-run double, followed by run-scoring doubles by Nick Fleming and Joe Brunelli. The damage could have been much worse, but Gilbert third baseman Hunter Smith made a diving catch on a scorched liner off the bat of Jack Schneider for the second out.
Chance Dutcher led off a five-run, fifth-inning rally with a single, followed by bunt singles by LaMay and Hibbard to load the bases. Stinson followed with a two-run double, and later in the inning, Fleming drove in a ruin with a single and Hibbard scored on a wild pitch.
SHEPAUG 9, GILBERT 0
GILBERT000 000 0 — 0 2 2
SHEPAUG004 005 x — 9 12 1
Records: Gilbert 1-6; Shepaug 9-0. Batteries: G—Devin Matthews (L), Will Hubbard (6) and Kevin Sullivan; S—Dominic Perachi (W) and Ethan Hibbard. Highlights: S—Hibbard 2-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBI; Alan Stinson 2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Joe Brunelli 2-for-4, RBI; Owen Hibbard 2-for-3, run.