Senior Trevor Friday showed why he is considered the ace of the Harrison High School pitching staff Thursday.
He threw a four-hit shutout and a complete game in shivering, 40-degree weather as the Hawks beat visiting North Farmington, 4-0.
Friday struck out six and walked one. The free pass occurred with two out in the seventh inning. He faced just 25 batters and threw 84 pitches, 61 of which were strikes.
“That’s efficiency,” Harrison coach Pete Lamerato said. “That’s one thing we worked on since his last outing – just pound the strike zone, start the batters off with a first-pitch strike.
“If you can do that, I believe you have a good chance to win if you have a horse on the mound. I definitely think Trevor proved himself today, going against a crosstown rival.
“I can’t complain about anything he did. He pitched quick; he pitched fast. The biggest thing is he threw strikes.”
While Friday was solid for seven innings, the Hawks needed just one big inning at the plate to win the game, scoring all of their runs in the bottom of the fifth.
They greeted relief pitcher Brett Kramer with five straight hits, and the first four batters reached home plate.
“That’s been a problem all year,” Lamerato said. “We’ve had hits but never enough where we were able to put together a big inning. At the end of the game, we’d have nine hits but not enough strung together. That’s what we were able to do today.”
David Vinsky, who went 3-for-4 and was the only player with more than one hit, Tommy Williams and Nico Janigian hit consecutive doubles, producing two runs.
Friday and Ray Klimas followed with back-to-back singles. Two runs scored on the Klimas hit, but the second run resulted from an error when the left fielder misplayed the ball.
“It was a little bit of a struggle offensively,” Lamerato said. “We had chances early on and made a couple base running mistakes. Eventually, the guys started swinging the bats, and they were on (Kramer) early.
“A lot of the guys know Brett. Maybe that just triggered something emotionally or whatever to motivate them, and they came out ready to hit.
“One thing we know is Brett throws strikes. He is going to throw you a strike, so be ready to swing the bats.”
Joey Gignac had pitched four solid innings for the Raiders, who are 10-2 overall and 4-2 in the OAA White Division, but he had thrown 80 pitches to that point.
He hit two batters in the first inning, but he settled down to pitch a two-hit shutout that included six strikeouts.
Gignac had a sore arm after he pitched the previous Thursday. Combined with the pitch count and cold weather, coach Mike O’Connell thought it best to pull him.
“He said he was fine; I’m not so sure he was,” O’Connell said. “Normally, he has perfect control. He’s our guy who throws strikes. He puts it in play and we make the plays.
“Brett started his career here (at Harrison) and transferred to North. These guys all know him. Over the past couple years they’ve had a tendency to hit him pretty hard, so there was a certain danger in doing what we did.
“But Frank (Zak) is coming off a pulled hamstring. Ordinarily, I’d have brought him in against a good hitting team, because he’s crafty and changes speed. But we went with Brett.”
North had four of its six base runners in the first three innings and got a man to second base each time. It left two on in the second, including Will Buraconak at third.
The Raiders had a runner picked off first base and another thrown out trying to steal third.
“I told the guys the game should’ve had a totally different complexion,” O’Connell said. “We pretty much shot ourselves in the foot two or three times.
“If we had scored a couple early runs and put some pressure on them, I think the whole complexion of the game would have been different. But we didn’t hit; that’s the bottom line.”
The Hawks, who had lost two games to North earlier in the week, improved to 2-4 in the division and 3-5 overall.
“We played pretty well defensively,” Lamerato said. “If we can do that when it’s this cold, if we can make plays behind our pitcher, it gives him confidence.
“Now he doesn’t have to worry about, ‘Do I have to hit the corners? Do I have to be so perfect with this pitch?’ Now he can just go out there and get it done.”
And that’s what Friday did Thursday for the Hawks.