MAMARONECK – The first four innings on Wednesday had gone smoothly for North Rockland. That much Chris Dodrill knew. But the senior left-hander was so focused on how he would attack the upcoming batters that he never bothered to look at the exact stat line.
Then came giddy second baseman Billy Rotella, who couldn’t help but spill the beans to his starting pitcher.
Dodrill had yet to allow a hit, and he was just nine outs away from a precious no-hitter.
“Billy said something to me about it, and then the next inning, on the first pitch, they got a hit right up the middle,” Dodrill said before adding, “Thanks, Bill!”
Dodrill missed out on the no-no, but he was willing to settle for a two-hitter and a 4-1 win — especially against defending Class AA state champion Mamaroneck.
The Tigers beat North Rockland twice last season by three runs combined, including a close contest in the Section 1 quarterfinals. Mamaroneck entered Wednesday’s game as the top-ranked team in the Lohud Baseball Rankings, but the Red Raiders may be the team to beat in 2016.
“Any time that you beat the defending state champs, I think that sends a message to everyone else that you’re serious and you’re ready to take it this year,” Rotella said. “We’re ready to compete and see how far we can take this.”
Dodrill was in control throughout the game on the mound, and he was also the catalyst at the plate.
He got the scoring started with an RBI single in the first inning and led off the third inning with a long home run over the right-field fence.
“I haven’t hit and pitched for this team so much, but it’s baseball,” Dodrill said. “I just have to have a simple approach and put the bat on the ball.”
Player of the game: Chris Dodrill, North Rockland — Not only was he lights out on the mound, striking out 11 over seven innings without allowing an earned run, but he also got a hit every time up. Dodrill carried the Red Raiders.
“He was awesome,” Rotella said. “He was pounding the zone, throwing strikes, keeping them off balance. I think they got, what? Two hits all game. Then at the plate, he went 4 for 4. You can’t do much better than that.”
Turning point: North Rockland set the tone from the get-go. Francisco Soriano led off with a walk, stole second base and scored on Dodrill’s RBI single. Then Dodrill came out for the bottom half of the first and set down Mamaroneck in order with two strikeouts. It was clear that the Red Raiders came to play.
Stat line: North Rockland (1-1) — Dodrill pitched seven innings, allowing two hits, one walk and one unearned run on 95 pitches (68 strikes) with 11 strikeouts. He also went 4 for 4 with a double, a homer, a run scored and two RBI. Rotella went 2 for 4 with two stolen bases and two runs scored and Jason Salva added an RBI single in the third. Mamaroneck (2-1) — Bill Flatow threw 96 pitches (66 strikes) over five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts. Emerson Genovese had the single that broke up the no-hitter and Peter Matt had an RBI double in the sixth.
Quotable: “We know they have a couple of returners, so me and our catcher, Ivan (Rodriguez), we were focused on the pitching chart during school today,” Dodrill said. “We weren’t really paying attention – we were just paying attention to the pitching chart and seeing what we can do with the scouting report. Me and him, we executed it perfectly.”