By Steve Wilaj
Ursuline sophomore pitcher Joel Hake kept Brookfield’s hitters off-balance and surprised in Thursday’s 3-0 win at Cene Park.
Striking out 12 Warriors batters and allowing only one hit in a complete-game performance, Hake surprised himself as well.
“I really wasn’t expecting to pitch like that in my first start,” Hake said. “But my guys played defense behind me and I pitched a pretty good game.
“If I pitch like that every game, we’re going to win [many] games this season,” Hake said.
Using a newly-developed two-seam fastball and a sweeping curveball, Hake didn’t allow a baserunner until Brookfield’s David Wise singled with two outs in the third inning.
While Wise was the first Warriors (0-1) runner to reach base, he was also the last.
Hake didn’t allow a hit or base on balls from that point on.
“I recently just started throwing a two-seam and it’s working for me,” Hake said. “I got a lot of guys with it on the outside corner. And I had a little control issues with my curveball, but it was working pretty well.”
In the second inning, Ursuline coach Sean Durkin went out to the mound to check Hake for an injury, which Hake said was muscle cramps.
But on this day, nothing could slow down the right-hander.
“He was terrific today,” Durkin said. “He’s looked good in all of our workouts and we expect big things out of him. He threw a lot of strikes and was very efficient.”
It took Hake only 72 pitches to get through seven innings.
“He’s a kid that throws a lot of strikes and throws a variety of pitches,” Durkin said. “The future is pretty bright for him and we definitely like what it holds.”
As good as Hake was, Brookfield starting pitcher Alex Yourchisn wasn’t far behind. In six innings on the mound, he allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out five Irish batters.
“He’s a senior and he’s been around, so we’re happy with his performance,” Brookfield assistant coach Mike Veres said. “It was just a couple of errors that hurt us, but overall we’re pretty happy.”
Ursuline (3-0) got on the board in the second inning when a throwing error by Warriors third baseman Anthony Wielbruda allowed Ryan Strollo to score.
The Irish made it 2-0 on an RBI single by Tannor Berry later in the inning. They tacked on another run in the fifth. Berry doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a wild pitch.
Berry led the Irish with two hits while Sam Donko and Strollo each had a hit.
“Their pitcher deserves some credit,” Durkin said. “But as we get repetitions outside, we need to produce a lot more offensively.”