To say that the JV Baseball Dons had good pitching this season would be a gross understatement. Many superlatives could be applied to describe the Dons pitching staff and the combined 1.201 team ERA: great, dominating, superb, awesome, exceptional, and so on. And yet, although Dons came tantalizingly close (one-hitter on a bunt!), a no-hitter has remained elusive – until today. On a perfectly balmy April afternoon, Dons went down to Moraga for the return leg of the 2-game series against rival Cougars. The boys were looking to complete the sweep of the series, and, having already downed Las Lomas and Miramonte, be crowned undisputed and undefeated kings of AUHSD JV Baseball. Jack Giorgianni took the mound, sporting an unbelievable ERA of just above 0.5, and lowered it yet again. Jack was his usual crafty self, and kept Cougars off-balance for all 6 innings he pitched, overcoming a tight strike zone and some other frustrating distractions to deliver an absolute gem. The few runners who got free passes usually didn’t get far. Cougars should know better than to wander off 1st base when Jack’s pitching, and perhaps they did know that much, but that didn’t help them in bottom 1st when Jack simply froze the runner off 1st with a nasty, deceiving pick-off move. Jack fanned 4, and he used solid – although not perfect – defense behind him to do the work. In the 2nd, a couple of walks got offset by a 4-6-3 double play. Cougars did hit a few deep fly balls, but the Dons’ outfield didn’t let anything drop today. The Cougars managed to scratch out a run in the 3rd on a walk and a bad throw to 1st, but that was it. The Dons’ defense stiffened, Jack was throwing good stuff, and he cruised the rest of the way, facing just one batter over the minimum through 3 more innings. After 6 innings and a very pretty stat line: 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 4 K, Peter Thorn stepped in to close the game out. He did so with panache, sitting three Cougars down in order, on a casual groundout, a swinging K, and a nice personal snag of a hot line drive to complete the combined no-hitter.
The Dons’s offense wasn’t on fire today, but it did enough to win comfortably, helped in no small part by sloppy Campo defense. In the 1st, Keagan Goddard reached on error, and Mason Zirkel knocked him in by pulling a sharp grounder right over the 1B bag. In the 3rd, Mason, Sully Bailey, and Wyatt Cooper hit 3 back-to-back-to-back short singles to load the bases up. With the infield in, Jake Boselli hit a grounder which was fielded by 3B who then tried to make a play at the plate, but the ball didn’t stick in the catcher’s glove, and Mason was safe at home. Aleksey Volobuev stepped in to pinch-hit, and knocked another run in with a sharp fielder’s choice grounder up the middle. In the 5th, James Stadt snatched a lead-off walk, and scored on Sully’s sac fly to deep right. The Dons could have scored more (8 LOB) but with their pitchers dealing, it was enough. Dons 4, Cougars 1. Mason Zirkel raised his gaudy team-leading batting average further, going 3-4 with a run and an RBI. Sully had a hit, an RBI, and a run, Jake Boselli had an RBI and a walk. Wyatt, Everett and Paul Kuhner had hits, James Stadt had a walk and a run, Keagan reached on an error and scored, and Aleksey had a pinch-hit RBI.
16-1-2 Dons are heading to Benicia next week to start the penultimate series of the season.