In a baseball conference known for having star hurlers, Green Hope continues to lead the way thanks to the emergence of its underclassmen pitchers. On Wednesday, junior Troy Maslowski delivered on the mound for the Falcons in a 2-1 victory against visiting Fuquay-Varina.
In a battle between the top two teams in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference – and the two most recent league champions – Maslowski threw fewer than 70 pitches for his complete-game 3-hitter.
Coupled with an impressive showing from Fuquay-Varina (6-6, 3-2) starter Brett Daniels, the game lasted fewer than 90 minutes.
“Troy is a bulldog. He has sort of mentality where he just wants the ball, and he’s kind of fiery. He’s just aggressive as a pitcher – if that’s possible – on the mound he just really wants it. He’s a competitor. He plays football and I think it helps him,” Green Hope coach Mike Miragliuolo said. “He just goes out there and wants it. It’s really hard to describe. I don’t think people in the area really knew much about him as a pitcher until this year and he just jumped on the scene. He doesn’t do anything necessarily amazing. He just threw strikes today. In my 13 years here I’ve never seen someone throw a complete game with a pitch count in the 60s.”
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Maslowski’s competitive side showed in the top of the seventh, when he doubled his strikeout total by striking out the side to close the contest.
“I know it was the top of the seventh inning. I just wanted to finish out strong,” Maslowski said.
Maslowski gave much of the credit for his performances this year to catcher Thomas Yoder and the seven players playing behind him.
“(Yoder) blocks everything for me, and I’ve got one of the best defenses,” Maslowski said. “They give me a lot of confidence. I can just throw strikes and they do the rest.”
Daniels, a North Carolina recruit who throws his fastball in the low 90s, also pitched a complete game. He allowed four hits and struck out 10 batters.
For the Falcons (12-1, 6-0) to hold off the reigning 4A East regional champs, it took one pivotal inning.
Fuquay-Varina took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, making the best of a leadoff hit-by-pitch to designated hitter Justin Warren.
Pinch runner Caleb Bissette moved to second on an uncharacteristic Green Hope error while trying to field a sacrifice bunt, then moved to third on a 4-6-3 double play. Daniels drove him in from third in the following at-bat.
The Falcons’ answer was in the bottom of the fifth.
A lead-off double off the wall by Green Hope’s Matt Duckworth was rewarded with an RBI single to right from Maslowski to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. Three batters later, Drew Hegeman – the No. 9 hitter – lifted a double over the center fielder’s head to score pinch runner Cam Lengyel and make it 2-1.
“I was looking fastball. He put it there, I just swung the bat, made contact, and the ball just flew,” Hegeman, a sophomore first baseman, said.
Playing in close games is not unusual for Fuquay-Varina, which has a 2-4 record in games decided by two runs or fewer.
“They just did a little bit more with the bats, when they needed to, than we did,” Fuquay-Varina coach Milton Senter said. “That’s kind of the way it is for us. We have to capitalize when we have a chance because we don’t have a lot of those big innings. ... Somewhere down the line it’s going to come together for us. ... I still believe we’re going to do some damage before it’s all over.”