WILDCATS 4, PANTHERS 0
Brian Morrell did it again.
Incredibly, eight days after pitching a no-hitter in his first varsity start for the Shoreham-Wading River High School baseball team, the 15-year-old freshman turned in a repeat performance on Saturday. In his first pitching appearance since that memorable no-hitter against Mount Sinai, Morrell hurled another one, this time shutting down Miller Place’s bats in a 4-0 victory.
After a Morrell pitch froze Jake Hansen for a called third strike and the game’s final out, Morrell trotted off the Miller Place High School field and into coach Sal Mignano’s arms before receiving hugs from teammates.
Morrell (2-0), the No. 3 pitcher in Shoreham’s starting rotation, walked six batters against eight strikeouts. The right-hander also received help from his friends. The Suffolk County League VII-leading Wildcats (10-0-1, 6-0) turned two double plays and played fine defense, without committing an error.
Miller Place’s first at-bat of the game easily could have been a hit if not for third baseman Tyler Osik’s nifty bare-handed pickup and throw from a Joe Riso ground ball.
Morrell helped his own cause in the second inning by pitching himself out of a jam with two runners in scoring position as a result of walks. He picked up all three outs on strikeouts.
In the third, it was Morrell himself coming through with a big fielding play. Vinny Bua bounced a chopper in front of home plate; Morrell did well to collect the ball and fire a throw to first baseman Adam Piotrowski for the out.
Miller Place (5-6, 3-3) threatened again in the fifth. With two outs and two runners on base, Shoreham shortstop Matt Fox did well to glove a grounder hit up the middle by Riso and then lunge to get his glove on second base for an inning-ending forceout.
The Wildcats supplied nine hits worth of offense, including two apiece by Chris Moran and Morrell. They put up two runs in the second. Jack Massa, who led off with a single, scored on a groundout by Zach Parilla. Piotrowski tagged a run-scoring single for the second run.
Moran led off the fifth by shooting a single to center field. Osik brought him home with a sacrifice fly.
A run-scoring double by Moran in the sixth gave the Wildcats another insurance run.
Morrell said he was never so nervous as he was in the seventh inning with a second straight no-hitter on the line. Those nerves didn’t show, though. Morrell retired the side in order, getting Andrew Lutjen to pop up and T. J. Drumerhauser to ground out before the game-ending strikeout.
Mignano said he has never before had a pitcher throw back-to-back no-hitters during his 38-year reign as the Wildcats’ coach.
In the 19 innings Morrell has pitched this season, he has not allowed a run to score and has given up only a few hits.