BUCKTOWN >> Trey Livingstone looked like a seasoned veteran on Friday evening at Owen J. Roberts High School.
The junior right-hander battled through rainy, cold conditions early, then weathered out the Owen J. Roberts lineup en route to a complete-game effort in a 4-1 win.
“My main focus was just throwing strikes early on,” said Livingstone, noting the weather conditions through the first two innings. “I knew they (Owen J. Roberts) wouldn’t be as aggressive at the plate because it was so freezing. I just tried to find a way to use it to my advantage and control the counts.”
The Pioneer Athletic Conference matchup improves Upper Perkiomen to 3-2 overall (2-2 PAC Frontier Division) while Owen J. Roberts drops its fourth straight to fall to 2-4 overall (1-3 PAC Liberty).
Just over a week after delivering the Tribe to a one-hit shutout win against Phoenixville, Livingstone was back at it against OJR.
He sat down the first 11 OJR batters in order and scattered three hits across seven full innings to go along with four strikeouts and no walks.
“Trey just gets it,” said Upper Perk head coach Frank Mercon. “High school doesn’t have to be about the 90-mile-an-hour fastball to win every game, but he does have some pop. He knows what he’s doing. He knows how to mix it up.”
“Just throwing strikes,” said Owen J. Roberts head coach Greg Gilbert of Livingstone. “All he did was throw strikes and we let him do whatever he wanted out there.”
Livingstone mixed a circle-change and a knuckle-curve in with his fastball to keep the OJR hitters off-balance throughout. He dominated each at-bat, rarely letting the OJR offense get ahead in the count.
“I always want to try and get that first-pitch strike, whether it’s the fastball or something off-speed,” said Livingstone, who posted 13 first-pitch strikes. “It’s a lot easier to go from there as opposed to getting behind in the count.”
For the season, Livingstone has pitched 14 full innings where he’s only allowed one run across. In two starts, he’s got a 0.64 earned-run average.
Upper Perk set itself up to do some serious damage in the early going.
The Tribe loaded up the bases with its first three hitters to start the game, but got only one run across on Nolan Graber’s sacrifice fly to left field before OJR starter Ben Hakun got himself out of the jam.
The Tribe added two more runs in the fourth, when Pijanowski opened up with a screaming liner down the third-base line before coming around to score on a fielding error. Two batters later, Brandon Reil came around to score on a balk.
“Our biggest weakness so far (this season), has been swinging the bats,” said Mercon. “But that didn’t show today. We had some good at-bats and some timely hitting.”
Graber finished with a double and a run scored while Robert Guzman walked twice.
For the game, Hakun pitched four full innings where he allowed three runs (one earned) on two hits and a pair of walks. He also struck out five. Senior right-hander Dawson Stuart went the final three innings for Owen J. where he was tagged for two hits and a run on a walk and two strikeouts.
Designated hitter Frankie Guinan had the Wildcats’ lone RBI, a single to left field to score speedy center fielder Austin Levengood from second base in the bottom of the fifth inning.
After starting the season with two straight shutout wins, OJR has since sputtered, especially offensively. The Wildcats are being outscored 19-7 in their past four games, including a 6-0 shutout loss against Methacton.
“I haven’t seen signs of life so far,” said Gilbert of OJR’s offense, “so we’ll see tomorrow (against Oley Valley) if we can turn it around. We’re seeing a little different pitching than we saw the first few games.”