BRISTOL TWP. – District 1 finalists a year ago and D-1 champs in 2015, Council Rock North is not exactly sure what this year’s group is capable of.
If the Indians perform anywhere near the rate at which leadoff hitter Cole Olshavsky hit in yesterday’s Suburban One National League opener with Harry S Truman, the Rock is liable to recover from the mass departures that took place last spring.
A senior who is starting his first season in centerfield, Olshavsky hit 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored, helping the Indians to a shutout win over the Tigers and evening their record at 2-2, overall on the season.
Eleven players have graduated from the CR North team that went to back-to-back D-1 finals and another – Matt Shenot – was injured playing football.
“We have eight new guys out on the field right now so the bar is looking a little different this year,” explained Coach Schram. “We’re really only looking one game to the next.
“This was huge for us today. To come out here and shut out a really good team like this on the road is exciting.”
The player with a big hand in blanking the opposition was junior righthander Gavin Ferrandino, who tossed six innings of shutout baseball, striking out nine batters and walking only two.
“His first-strike pitches were perfect,” said Olshavsky. “He was just shut-down today.”
Reliever Nolan Hartwell came on in the seventh and retired three straight batters while striking out one. Defensively, North committed no errors in the game, a big change from their previous contest when they registered eight fielding gaffes in an 8-1 loss to Philadelphia Catholic League rival Saint Joseph’s Prep.
“We were clean, defensively,” added Schram. “The pitchers threw real well. They were efficient – throwing strikes. And we had some timely hitting.”
Especially from Olshavsky. Batting in the number two spot, the senior struggled in the loss to Saint Joe’s. So Schram flip-flopped Cole and shortstop Cavan Tully in the batting order.
Olshavsky responded with a single to left field in the first inning, a single to center in the second, a double to right field in the fourth and a single down the first base line that he stretched into a double in the seventh.
Cole says he’s more comfortable batting leadoff, a position he’s held at previous levels in his baseball career.
“I get more fastballs as a leadoff hitter and I’m able to hit the ball harder and be a better hitter,” said Olshavsky.
The centerfielder says he waits for his pitch before deciding where to go with it.
“He threw me a curveball in the first at-bat and I just had to go the other way with it,” explained Olshavsky. “I knew if I tried to pull it, I’d roll over it and ground out to second base.”
“The last three at-bats, I got fastballs and I just tried to barrel them up.”
The Indians jumped on Truman senior righthander Brian Aicher in the first inning, loading the sacks on singles by Tully and leftfielder Joe Preciado sandwiched in between a walk to third baseman Zach Deegan (2 RBI).
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Preciado’s hit caromed off their pitcher’s right elbow, ending his day prematurely on the mound. Coming in with two outs and the bases loaded, CR North second baseman Kellen Pecuch forced a run in after drawing a full-count walk off junior reliever Mike McCormick.
With the sacks still jammed, designated hitter Eric Hoefer stroked a two-run single to right-centerfield that put the Rock on top, 3-0. McCormick ended the rally, inducing a force at second base but the damage was done.
CR North catcher Shane Carson reached first on an error to lead off the second inning and scored on monster one-out sac-fly by Deegan. Olshavsky led the seventh inning off with a double and scored on sac-fly by first baseman Jason Walter.
For Truman, McCormick did a nice job, limiting the Indians to one run on two hits in five and 1/3 innings of work.
“He came into a tough spot – bases loaded, two outs and not much time to warm up,” stated Tigers head coach Tim Monaghan. “But he gave us every chance to compete in this game going forward.
“Even at four-nothing, you have to think that you still have a chance to win; you’re not dead in the water.”
“He did a good job of helping us hang in there. It’s just a shame we couldn’t piece together one (run) here and one there to get back in the game.”
Truman’s best chance to push a run across the plate came in the fifth inning. Senior first baseman Casey Van Horn stroked a first-pitch fastball from Ferrandino over the head of the leftfielder for a leadoff double. While pinch runner Dale Summers reached third on a sac-bunt by leftfielder Chris Haer, he was caught in a rundown when the Tigers failed to successfully execute a suicide squeeze with Cam Culver up to bat.
Ironically, Culver stroked a single up the middle later on in the plate appearance.
With the loss, Truman falls to 0-2, overall, 0-1 in the SONL. The Tigers opened the season with a 7-4 loss to PCL rival Archbishop Wood March 25 on the Vikings’ home field.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock North junior righthander Gavin Ferrandino struck out nine while walking only two to help the Indians to a 5-0 shutout win April 3 at Suburban One National League rival Harry S Truman. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)
CR North 5, Harry S Truman 0
(April 3 at Truman)
CR North 310 000 1 – 5 9 0
Truman 000 000 0 – 0 3 1
WP: Gavin Ferrandino — 6IP, 0R, 3H, 2BB, 9SO; LP: Brian Aicher — 2/3IP, 3R3H, 1BB, 0SO.
DOUBLES: CRN — Cole Olshavsky 2; HST — Casey Vanhorn.
RBIs: CRN — Eric Hoefer 2, Kellen Pecuch, Zach Deegan 2; HST — none.
RUNS: CRN — Cole Olshavsky, Cavan Tully, Deegan, Joe Preciado, Shane Carson.
MULTIPLE HITS: CRN —Olshavsky 4-for-4; HST — none.
RECORDS — CR North (2-2), Harry S. Truman (0-2).