A first varsity start can test the nerves of just about any high school pitcher, but not Shoreham-Wading River’s Gordon Votruba, apparently.
Asked if he was nervous going into his first starting assignment this past Saturday at Amityville, Votruba said: “Honestly, I was not. I went in there and I just did my best, honestly.”
Votruba had more cause to feel nerves as the game progressed, but he indicated that wasn’t the case, either. He was too busy keeping his mind on the business at hand.
Votruba, a freshman spot starter/reliever, picked his spots effectively and came away with his first career no-hitter in his first career start, a 10-0 Suffolk County League V baseball win. The six-inning performance featured 12 strikeouts and no walks. Amityville’s only two base runners came on hit batsmen. The economical Votruba needed only 61 pitches.
“I wasn’t really thinking I was going to do that, but I just kept doing what I was doing,” the 6-foot, 160-pound righthander said. He added: “Changeups, curves, fastballs, two-seams, everything. I was throwing them all for strikes, too, so that was good.”
“He’s a very talented kid,” SWR coach Kevin Willi said. “You’re going to hear about him for the next couple of years.”
Willi said Votruba isn’t an overpowering pitcher, but makes up for it in other ways.
“The thing with him is he’s got three good pitches,” Willi said. “He’s got a curveball, a good changeup. He throws, obviously, a lot of strikes, and I think this is a great year for him because he’s going to have to learn how to pitch because he doesn’t have overpowering — like some of our other pitchers have — overpowering fastballs.”
Votruba is only the eighth freshman in program history to be brought up to the varsity team, said Willi. “A freshman who is up on varsity is very, very rare for any program, but for our program especially,” said Willi.
Providing support were Joey Marchese, who went 3-for-3 with a home run, triple and five RBIs, and Joey Dwyer, who clubbed two homers and collected four RBIs.
SWR (7-0, 7-0) followed that up with a 12-3 win over host Elwood/John Glenn Tuesday. Billy Steele (four RBIs), SWR’s No. 3 batter, belted a two-run homer to dead centerfield for a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning. “It was a monster shot,” said Willi. Dwyer went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Starting pitcher Jake Halloran (3-0) gained the win, allowing three hits and one earned run over four innings while fanning seven.
Votruba pitched SWR to another victory Wednesday, throwing five innings in a 12-0 win against visiting Southampton. He struck out five in his second varsity start.
“I was pumped, honestly, I was,” he said of his achievement. “My first varsity start, I had a lot of fun, honestly.”