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WAKEFIELDâAfter a disappointing loss in their season opener the Prout baseball team bounced back with an 11-1 victory over Tiverton in five innings Saturday.
âItâs a good day for Prout,â said Crusaders coach Mike LaBarbera. âWeâre going to hit, itâs no secretâŠ Certainly, a couple things didnât go Tivertonâs way. Weâre not as good as the result today and they certainly arenât as bad.â
By the end of the game they were clicking but it was a sloppy start for the Prout bats.
Though they were driving the ball, recording seven hits through the first three innings, the Crusaders struggled with men on base and stranded a total of seven
runners during that time.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead, the giant awoke in the fourth and the Crusaders piled on seven runs to put an insurmountable distance between themselves and the Tigers.
âWe have not executed offensively the way weâd like,â commented LaBarbera. âItâs early in the season.
â...We have a lot of brand new, first year starters. Iâm sure theyâre nervous. Iâm sure there are some jitters. Itâs not coming from me, but the reputation of Prout baseball puts some undue pressure on these kids sometimes.â
There was one new face to the Prout squad, however, that did not seem to get overly rattled.
Freshman lefty Mason Feole took to the mound to start the game and kicked off his high school career in fine fashion.
âKind of nervous in the beginning, but kind of settled in,â said the freshman of his performance. â[I threw] pretty good. I wasnât getting on top of my pitches, wasnât finishing, but kept trying to mix it up.â
Feole struck out the first batter he faced in his high school career and was off and running.
After giving up Tivertonâs only run in the second inning, things looked as though they were on the verge of falling apart for the young left-hander in the third.
With just one out in the inning, the Tigers strung together three straight singles to load the bases.
The Crusaders pitching and defense, however, tightened up and escaped the inning unscathed after another strikeout by Feole and a fly out to left.
âMason did well,â LaBarbera said. âIâd like Mason to get ahead in the count a little better but all that being said, he is a freshman.
âItâs the first time heâs pitched in a league game and he showed a lot of guts coming back from counts and throwing some good, two strike pitches.â
After Prout added another two runs in the bottom of the fifth, the game was called with the home team leading by 10.
Feoleâs line ended as a complete game, giving up just one run with six strikeouts in five innings pitched.
His teamâs pitching and defense were the concerns for LaBarbera heading into this season.
Despite Saturdayâs performance, he is still not ready to say things are where they need to be in the field.
âThere are some question marks. There are concerns,â he said. âWe really donât have a rotation of 1-2-3. Nobodyâs really stepped up to say âIâm the one, Iâm the two, Iâm the three.ââ
Sophomore righty Patrick Quarters will get his chance to make his mark on the pitching rotation as the third starter to take the mound this season for the Crusaders against Mount Hope Tuesday (results unavailable at press time).
While his confidence is growing in his teamâs defense and his pitching staff, for the time being LaBarbera plans on sticking to Proutâs strength for early season success.
âWeâre hitting,â LaBarbera said, âso weâre just going to keep doing what we do best.â