Hunter Trimachi took his share of lumps a season ago when he joined a part of a freshman class promoted to North Stafford’s varsity baseball team.
He was determined not to start the new season the same way as the Wolverines took on host Riverbend in the opening round of the Commonwealth District tournament Tuesday evening.
After taking the mound in the sixth inning, Trimachi worked out of a two-on jam with a pair of strikeouts in the seventh. Then to show it was no fluke, he worked out a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth, preserving his team’s 2–0 victory.
“A huge win for our guys. For them to come out and get an early win like that, even though it’s a preseason tournament, it gives them confidence,” Wolverines coach John Labrusciano said. “Hopefully that will make us jell a little bit quicker than we hoped for.”
Although not involved in the decision, both starting pitchers were in mid-season form, completing the first five innings in under an hour.
North Stafford’s Owen Ledford retired the first 14 batters he faced, allowed no hits and struck out six. Equally sharp was Riverbend’s Aidan Vanvickle, a junior, fired one-hit ball over six frames while striking out seven.
“We felt like we were knocking on the door for about 3–4 innings,” Labrusciano said. “We keep telling the guys in the dugout, ‘Just relax, take a deep breath.’ That’s one of the things we emphasize: Slow the game down.”
Left-fielder Kevin Delash was a life saver for Trimachi with his driving catch to rob the Bears’ Alex Correa to open the bottom of the seventh. Ryan Baechtel followed with a bloop single that fell between three Wolverine fielders. Tyler Manchester then got on an infield error, but Trimachi bore down for two strikeouts, forcing extra innings. He finished with five strikeouts.
Sophomore Johiem Green admitted he slipped on his initial targeting of Baechtel’s hit, costing him a chance to make the catch. He had the last laugh though, leading off the eighth with a walk and eventually scoring on Cody Carter’s base hit. Two batters later, Carter scored an insurance run on Elmer Figueroa’s line drive down the left field line.
“I always have to be prepared, so when I took the last pitch, I knew I was going to score on the base path. . . . Hunter pitched his A-S-S off, really happy for him too,” Green said.
About Vanvickle’s effort, Bears coach Angelo Sciandra commented: “Aiden was second in innings [last season] and allowed five hits for the year. He’s a tough pitcher to hit. He throws three pitches and he’s downhill. We always talk about when it’s your turn to get the ball, go get outs and he did a great job of doing that.”
Thursday’s semifinal round will be played at Stafford with the Wolverines taking on Brooke Point, a 9–4 victor over Massaponax. Friday’s final also will be at Stafford Riverbend travels to Cosby for its next game on Monday.
Owen Ledford, HUNTER TRIMACHI (6) and Elmer Figueroa. Aidan Vanvickle, TYLER MANCHESTER (7) and Ryan Swanson.