By Kevin Antonevich
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. ? The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (7-8) defeated the Harwich Mariners (11-4) on Sunday evening, 5-1. Despite coming into the game with the best record in the league, the Mariners were shut down by Mitch Hart (2-1), who recorded another excellent start and earned the win. On offense, Brendan Skidmore (Binghamton) and Will Toffey (Vanderbilt) both contributed two hits, with Skidmore hitting his third home run of the season.
Hart (Southern California) took the hill for the Red Sox on Sunday evening. Hart struggled in his first start of the season, but bounced back for a brilliant outing against Chatham last Sunday, shutting out the Anglers over five innings and recording six strikeouts. He commanded his off-speed pitches well and kept Chatham hitters off-balance.
Sean McCarthy (1-0) looked to continue his scoreless innings streak for Harwich, entering the game with 10 strikeouts and one walk in 12 shutout innings of work this season. McCarthy shined at Seton Hall University this year, posting a 2.38 ERA in 102 innings as a sophomore.
Harwich pushed across the first run of the game in the top of the first. Ernie Clement (Virginia) hit a ground ball past Toffey at third base, and quickly stole second. Cal Raleigh (Florida State) drove in Clement on an infield single to Kevin Smith (Maryland) at shortstop, and the Mariners had an early 1-0 lead.
The Red Sox, however, responded in the bottom of the first. Toffey led off the inning with a hard hit single to center field, and Matt Whatley (Oral Roberts) drove him on a towering home run over the center field fence. This was Whatley?s first home run and fourth extra base hit of the season, and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Corey Dempster (Southern California) began the second inning with a line drive to right field and advanced to third base after two ground ball outs. Toffey then laid down a perfect bunt along the third base line, and Dempster scored on the safety squeeze.
Skidmore launched his third home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth, pushing the Red Sox lead to 4-1. After Smith walked, Mikey Diekroeger (Stanford) hit a double that rolled to the wall and scored Smith, and the Red Sox led by four.
Bryan Pall (Michigan) worked the last two innings for the Red Sox, and kept the Mariners off the board to nail down Y-D?s victory.
Hart looked excellent across seven innings of work, holding the Mariners to five hits and striking out five. He located his fastball well and got ahead of hitters early, getting a first pitch strike on 56% of the hitters he faced.
According to Frankie Pilliere, a writer at D1Baseball and a former scout for the Texas Rangers, Hart sat between 88-92 mph with his fastball, and maxed out at 93 mph. His curveball came in between 75-77 mph and his slider was clocked at 81-83 mph.
With a great start by Hart tonight and Erich Uelmen (Cal Poly) on Friday night against Wareham, the front end of the Red Sox rotation is beginning to solidify, and looks promising entering July.
The Red Sox are back in action on Tuesday, taking on the Orleans Firebirds at home at 5 p.m. at Red Wilson Field.