Oh what a relief Joe Marti has been for Bishop McGann-Mercy this young baseball season.
Twice the sophomore righthander was called in difficult situations early in the game and twice he has provided some spectacular long relief.
On March 27, Marti came in with the bases loaded in the second inning and shut down Southold the rest of the way en route to a 6-5 victory.
It was lights out again Thursday as Martin threw 5 2/3 innings of sparking relief in the Monarchs’ 6-2 comeback win over The Stony Brook School at home in Suffolk County League XI action. The Monarchs have started the season 3-0.
“He was great,” coach Ed Meier said. “He has been nothing short of just phenomenal for us out there. He deserves it. He moves the ball around well, hits his spots and another fantastic outing out of Joe.”
With starter Matt Chilicki not at the top of his game, Meier decided to bring Marti in with one out and one runner aboard in the top of the second inning. The Bears had grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first.
“I wanted a guy that throws strikes and Joe is going to throw strikes and Matt was a little out of the strike zone,” Meier said. “Plus, we’ve got a game tomorrow. Alright, we’ll go with Joe today and Matty tomorrow.”
The Monarchs meet Pierson/Bridgehampton on Friday at 2 p.m.
Marti retired 17 of the 19 batters he faced, striking out six and walking one.
“My mindset is don’t think, you’re under a lot of pressure,” he said. “I’m just having a catch in the backyard with my dad. I just come in, they’re [the opposition] screaming, cheering on their teammates. They don’t get into my head.”
Marti combined his fastball and curveball to thwart Stony Brook.
“I have a decent drop, a curveball. It’ll stop some kids,” he said. “My fastball, I really hit my corners. If you can hit a low and outside corner on a righty, they can’t touch you. Same thing for a lefty, opposite.”
Give the Monarchs a lot of credit for chasing starter Joe Wozny, who allowed four hits and struck out 10 batters before he was pulled after 4 2/3 innings. Wozny also walked four and hit a batter.
“I thought we played fantastic,” Meier said. “That’s one of the better guys, if not the best guy in the league that Stony Brook threw out there. They punched us right in the face, 2-0 in the first inning, with our guy on the mound. I thought we had pretty good composure, chipping away, chipping away, working good counts, getting his pitch count up and once he came out of the game, we were able to scratch a few for us.”
The Bears (2-2, 2-2) grabbed that 2-0 lead on Tim Wozny’s single and an error.
Mercy left five baserunners on in the first two innings — including 13 in the game — before finally breaking through with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Sean Hinck, who was on base all four times, drove in the first run with a single. Christian Doroski scored on a throwing error by catcher Aiden Mega after he stole third in the fourth and pinch hitter Ethan Aube gave Mercy a 3-2 lead it never relinquished when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth.
The Monarchs gave Marti some breathing room by scoring three more in the sixth.