CARMEL, N.Y. – Lakeland began its season with a victory, a 6-0 triumph at Carmel on April 2 on the strength of a one-hit, complete-game shutout thrown by Rich Vetrano.
“I think I was dominant because after the first two innings I calmed down and focused on just pitching strikes and mixing up all my pitches,” Vetrano said.
James Houlahan (3 for 4, 3 runs scored), Rick Burroni (3 for 3, 2 RBI) and Pat Morelli and Matt O’Dair, who each recorded two hits apiece, led Lakeland’s effort at the plate.
“It definitely helped a lot going on the mound knowing I have some runs to work with,” Vetrano said. “Our offense is strong and they did a great job.”
For the Hornets, the win was a confidence booster.
“It means a lot to start off the season with a win because now we have a lot of confidence going into the season,” Vetrano said.
It was a big afternoon for Yorktown third baseman Joe Veca, who went 2 for 5 with four RBI and two runs scored in leading the Huskers to a 6-1 opening-day win on March 31 at Putnam Valley.
“I was really seeing the ball well and it was all a matter of me sitting back and hitting something hard,” Veca said. “I saw it well and was able to capitalize on the pitches I got.”
Tanner Dyslin contributed two hits and an RBI for the Huskers.
“The team is really hyped right now, it feels great starting off with such a dominating performance,” Veca said. “It really boosts the team’s self esteem and reassures the team that if we play our game we will be tough to beat.”
Yorktown starting pitcher Jimmy Sharkey was also amped up after the win.
“Starting the season off as we did has me very excited for the rest of the season,” Sharkey said. “If we keep playing as we do I’m sure we will make it further this year.”
Yorktown was led on the mound by Sharkey, who pitched four innings, striking out nine and allowing just one earned run, two hits and three walks to record the victory.
“I pitched the way I did because I went on to the field having the mentality to throw strikes and to attack batters,” Sharkey said. “Having a solid defense behind me is also a great feeling.”
Jack Kelly pitched three shutout innings of outstanding relief, striking out seven while giving up no hits and just two walks to earn the save.
“Those two will always be successful due to how hard they work day in and out,” Veca said of Sharkey and Kelly. “Possibly the best one-two punch in the section and every time they are on the mount you can expect a good performance.”
What made the win extra special was that it was a team effort according to Sharkey.
“People made plays and had key hits to keep on driving in runs,” Sharkey said. “When everyone does their job we are a very solid team.”