A dominant pitching effort, a pair of two-run home runs and a four-run first inning – all that added up to an impressive home win for Brunswick School’s baseball team on Friday.
Right-hander Michael Yeager pitched a one-hitter, while Adonys Guzman and Cole Mascolo each hit two-run homers to propel Brunswick past visiting Hopkins School, 10-0, in a five-inning FAA game.
Yeager, a sophomore, struck out eight batters the five-inning game – due to the 10-run mercy rule – for the Bruins, who led 4-0 after the first inning and 6-0 following the second inning.
The Bruins’ starting pitcher used his impressive fastball and secondary pitches to hold the Hilltoppers’ hitters at bay.
“I just came out and tried to throw strikes and it turned out pretty well,” Yeager said. “Everything felt good, everything was working.”
The early-season win upped Brunswick’s record to 2-0, heading into today’s doubleheader against Fieldston School. The opening game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Brunswick.
Bruins coach Johnny Montanez enjoyed watching his team excel in all aspects.
“When you have a kid like Mike on the mound, you have the opportunity to come out on top any game of the week,” Montanez said. “He’s one of the best this game’s got to offer at the high school level. He works so hard, he believes in the process and he’s getting better every day. When your bats come alive with a pitcher like that, it’s pretty fun to watch.”
After Yeager pitched a scoreless first inning, the Bruins quickly set the tone of the game in the bottom half of the inning. Mascolo, a senior outfielder, drew a walk from Hopkins starting pitcher Nolan Brant, then Guzman, a senior catcher hit a home run over the right field fence, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
“I was in a hitter’s count, looking to drive to the ball and got a fastball and was able to drive it the other way for a home run,” the right-handed hitting Guzman said. “We came out excited and ready to play. Rain has messed up a couple of our games, so we just came out excited and ready to play. It was an FAA game, we knew we had a statement to make and it was a great win.”
Later in the opening inning, with the bases loaded, sophomore second baseman was hit on the leg with a Brant pitch, forcing in a run and giving the Bruins a 3-0 advantage. A sacrifice fly by sophomore first baseman Reed Hyde put the home team on top, 4-0. Of course, the early runs was a welcome site to Brunswick’s hard-throwing hurler.
“It’s easier to pitch ahead, the offense came out hot,” Yeager said. “You get more rest in the dugout, you come out, you’ve got the lead – it’s definitely easier.”
“It takes the pressure off of him,” Montanez said of Yeager. “It lets him know that all he has to do is pound the strike zone. The boys played all three levels of the game – pitching, defense and offense.”
Brunswick added to its lead in the second inning. Riley Redahan, a junior third baseman, singled up the middle and scored when Mascolo launched a long home run way over the right field fence, making it 6-0.
“As a team, we swung the bat really well,” Mascolo said. “We were just staying aggressive and sticking to our approach and hit line drives. The first at-bat I walked, it was a fine at-bat, but I wanted to be more aggressive. The second at-bat I got a pitch that I wanted to hit and took an aggressive swing and did what I had to do.”
Playing in the field behind a pitcher controlling the opposition’s lineup can add to a team’s motivation.
“Whenever Mike’s out there it’s always high energy,” Mascolo said. “Whenever anyone on our staff is throwing well it helps us out.”
The sight of Adonys and Mascolo hitting homers should be a familiar one to the Bruins following.
“Adonys is a phenomenal hitter and he can put the bat on the ball at a high level and he can put a charge in it,” Montanez said. “Cole is a cornerstone of our team. He’s super hard worker and an unbelievable kid, who day in and day out works at his highest level. He sets the bar for excellence and he tries to push past it.”
The Bruins ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring four runs. With the bases loaded, sophomore second baseman Jerry Guzman singled in a run, making it 7-0. Hyde drove in a run with a fielder’s choice ground ball and Redahan and junior Sam Sealy each delivered run-scoring singles, giving Brunswick a 10-0 lead to cap the game.
The Hilltoppers’ lone hit – a single – came in the fifth inning.
“He was was consistently throwing strikes, he had command of three pitches – a stellar performance by Michael today,” Guzman said.
Indeed, the Bruins have the look of an imposing pitching staff.
“We have a very deep pitching staff,” Yeager said. “We have some young guys, some older guys. Everyone really pounds the zone, good stuff all around. It was a good game all around.”