St. Joseph bats back up Irwin
How does a one-hit, 10-strikeout performance over five innings get overshadowed in a high school baseball game?
In the case of St. Joseph starting pitcher Quinn Irwin, it happens when your teammates are relentless at the plate, pounding out 25 hits in a 13-0 win over Fairfield Warde on a gray, overcast Wednesday afternoon. The offensive eruption was more than enough for the efficient left-hander, who threw 42 of his 53 pitches for strikes.
"Right from the warm-ups, I felt like my arm was live, with a lot of movement on my pitches," said Irwin, who improved to 3-0. "I'm a very easygoing guy, I was having fun. When the whole team is hitting, it's kind of contagious."
St. Joseph improved to 8-0, locking away a state tournament berth barely two weeks past the opening day of the season. The Cadets' eye-opening early season form has also earned them another superlative in the
"They're the team to beat, absolutely," said Fairfield Warde coach Mark Caron, whose team lost its third straight heading into Thursday night's game against crosstown rival Fairfield Ludlowe at Harbor Yard.
Irwin set the tone early, striking out the side in the top of the first on 12 pitches. He didn't allow a hit until Matt Bartolomeo's single up the middle to lead off the fifth.
"He's a solid lefty," Caron said. "We hadn't seen a lefty yet. He had us off balance."
Meanwhile St. Joseph hopped on Warde starter Shane Goven early with five hits in the first two innings. Base-running mistakes in both innings kept the score knotted at 0-0.
The floodgates opened for the Cadets in the third and fourth innings as they batted around in each frame, sending a total of 24 batters to the plate and scoring 11 runs. It could have been even worse as the Cadets left the bases loaded in each frame.
Lance Kreizer came on to pitch in the fourth for Warde (5-3, 4-3 FCIAC) after St. Joseph scored six in the third to chase Goven.
Alex Carbone drove in four runs over the two innings, while Chris McCormack had three straight singles, as the Cadets kept turning the lineup over like a merry-go-round, a thought screamed more than once from players inside their dugout.
"Everyone was seeing the ball well today," Holcomb said. "We're off to a good start, just trying to keep it going."
St. Joseph first-year coach Jim Chaves was pleased with his team's performance in what he dubbed the Cadets' first big test of the season. The establishment of Quinn as a potential ace was nearly as important as the nonstop offense.
"You have games like that, sometimes you can't make an out, sometimes you can't get a hit," Chaves said. "We did what we could do up to this point. The second half of the season will be a grind. I'm sure people will be gunning for us.