By Brandon Judeh
Ursuline starting pitcher Sam Donko has been a workhorse since his freshman year, putting away batters with ease.
Wednesday’s sectional final match against United was no different. The senior mowed down nine batters and gave up one hit in four innings as the Irish cruised to a 25-0 victory in five innings at Cene Park.
Donko credits his fastball, which was working from start to finish, on getting ahead of batters early.
“My fastball was pretty good today,” he said. “It had some late life on it and I was able to locate it pretty well. It was nice. I only had to use my breaking ball about five times throughout the game.”
The Irish bats followed Donko’s lead and got off to a hot start in the first inning and never looked back.
Ursuline (19-2) sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs on six hits. Irish coach Sean Durkin was pleased with his team’s offensive performance.
“We haven’t been terrific this year with taking advantage of runners in scoring position,” Durkin said. “We took care of that today, which is a good sign, especially at this point of the season.”
Michael Montalbano started the onslaught with a two-RBI triple to dead center field to put his team on the board early.
When it was said and done, Dion Felger, Matt Lacko, Tannor Berry and Vinnie Boerio all added RBIs and the Irish finished their monster inning with four extra-base hits.
“Chemistry has been a big part of this team all year long, we all get along great, pick each other up when we are down and that’s been a big key to our offense,” Boerio said.
Seven seemed to be Ursuline’s lucky number as the Irish once again put seven on the board in the second inning.
The highlight of the inning was when Boerio blasted a triple into left-center field, knocking in his second and third RBIs and pushing the Irish lead to 14.
Boerio finished the evening 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a walk.
Things only got better for Ursuline as it added three in the third and eight in their final go around in the fourth inning.
United (3-20) got its lone hit from Matt Salmen in the second inning off Donko. The Eagles also used four pitchers.
Ryan Strollo went 3 for 3 with an RBI for the Irish, Lacko reached base in all three of his at-bats and knocked in three runs. Pinch hitter Bobby Dulay went 2 for 2 with two RBIs.
Now that Ursuline has wrapped up another sectional title, Donko (7-1) is looking forward to the district tournament and some unfinished business.
“Our goal this season, as well as last, is to win a state championship,” Donko said. “We fell one game shy last year when we lost by one run. For us seniors this is our last shot, it’s do or die.”