First, Kyle Garrison told his Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons teammates that they would atone for a dreadful showing Friday at Troy High School.
Monday, he delivered, holding the Troy offense in check and belting a three-run home run as the Knights downed the Flying Horses, 5-1, for their first Big 10 win of the season.
“The last game we played them, we got embarrassed,” said Garrison, referring to Friday’s 22-2 loss. “We felt we needed to show we’re not that kind of a team. We’re a better team than that.”
“Friday, they were humiliated by those guys,” said Bishop Gibbons coach Dwight Doepel. “We always talk to them after the game, and I said, `Listen, this one’s over. Monday, we’re going to our house, and we’re going to beat them at our house.’
“I didn’t really say much else. Kyle stood up and said, `Yeah. It’s over, Monday, they’re coming over to our house, and let’s go and beat them.’
“He’s been on the team for four years, and he’s always been very quiet. He’s never stood up and said anything. This is the first time, and it was the perfect place for him to say something. I think it inspired the kids.”
Garrison needed just 83 pitches to become the first pitcher to beat Troy this spring, giving up only four hits. Three went for extra bases, two of them
triples, thanks to the spacious outfield at the Knights’ home field. Only the double figured in Troy’s run.
Garrison got one of his four strikeouts after Joey Jordan hit a two-out triple in the second inning, and made Mike DeCarlo watch as the next three Troy batters failed to get the ball out of the infield after he led off the top of the fourth with a three-base hit.
“I had the lead, so I was just trying to get the next out,” said Garrison. “I was just going one batter at a time.”
Garrison only had one perfect inning, but he stuck to the game plan in battling the Troy hitters. Sixteen of the Troy outs were recorded by infielders, with Garrison covering home to tag out Zeb Gaston in the first inning as the Flying Horses’ leadoff hitter tried to score from third when a pitch got past Bishop Gibbons catcher Justin Relyea.
“I tried to use off-speed pitches to keep them off balance. They’re a good fastball hitting team,” Garrison said,
Garrison also provided himself with a cushion when he lined a three-run home run to left to cap a four-run third inning. It was the only hit the Knights had in the inning, after loading the bases on walks.
“He [Troy starting pitcher Jack Zecca] had walked three guys, and when he got behind, I knew he had to come in with something,” said Garrison, who jumped on a 2-1 pitch.
Relyea tripled to lead off the home sixth and scored when Cameron Peterson laid down a bunt on a suicide squeeze.
The Knights would like to at least match last year’s success. The team went 9-7 in the Big 10, and ended a long postseason drought.
“Last year was our first year making the sectionals as far as we could find, and we went back and looked at records for 35 years,” said Doepel.
“I’m looking to improve on our 9-7 last year. I would love to go 12-4, but we already have three league losses, so that doesn’t leave us a lot of wiggle room.”
Garrison wants his senior season to extend past the regular season, as well.
“I think we can make something happen in sectionals,” he said. “We need to get enough wins to get to sectionals, and then see what happens.”
Troy 001 000 0 — 1 4 0
Bishop Gibbons 004 001 x — 5 4 0
Zecca, Gaston (5) and Houser; Garrison and Relyea.