Schalmont baseball coach Bob Anderson believes senior left-handed pitcher Greg Musk will toss a no-hitter before the season is over.
With the dazzling display Musk put on Monday against Voorheesville, Anderson may be right.
Musk pitched 6 1⁄3 innings of no-hit ball before settling for a one-hitter, leading the Sabres to a 10-0 Colonial Council victory over the Blackbirds at Schalmont High School.
Using an array of fastballs, curveballs and even a knuckler, Musk struck out 13 and walked two. The only hit he allowed was a bloop single to Alex Minnick that just eluded a diving right fielder Chris Hamilton. Musk threw 102 pitches.
“We know all we have to do is score some runs when he’s pitching, and we have a good shot to win the game,” Anderson said. “He did a great job.”
It was the second time Musk flirted with a no-hitter this season, holding Watervliet hitless until the seventh inning in the season opener.
“He will get one,” Anderson said.
Musk retired the first nine batters of the game, with five of them strikeouts. He had another stretch of retiring nine in a row between the fourth and seventh innings. In that span, Musk struck out seven in a row.
Only three times did he reach a three-ball count.
“I just wanted to mix everything in so, later in the season, I’d have everything down and in control, and throw it when I want it to,” Musk said. “My curveball wasn’t reaching [the plate] as much. I think that was because I wasn’t reaching as much to the plate. My knuckleball I started throwing was on and off. My change-up that I threw a couple of times was one. But mostly my fastball was on the most.”
To Voorheesville coach Kyle Turski, everything Musk threw was on target.
“Musk threw great today,” Turski said. “The funniest thing about today was he got to the bottom of the order, and I’m thinking these guys are going to get fastballs and telling to jump on the fastball, and he’s throwing first-pitch curves. He commanded the zone.”
With Schalmont (5-1 Colonial, 7-1 overall) having a 3-0 lead, Voorheesville (5-3, 7-4) had a chance to jump on Musk in the fourth.
The inning started with Musk striking out Kyle Payne, but a passed ball by catcher Anthony Yezzo allowed Payne to reach base. Another passed ball allowed Payne to go to second. and he went to third on David Cardona’s groundout. After Mike Hennessy walked and stole second, Musk got out of the jam by striking out Minnick and Alex Giordano.
“I don’t focus on the baserunners. I focus on the outs,” Musk said. “If I were to get a groundball, my team would be there to back me up.”
The Sabres put the game away in their half of the fourth. They sent 11 batters to the plate and scored five runs. Dom Toma, who was 4-for-4 in the game, had a two-run single to ignite the outburst. Hamilton ripped an RBI double, and John Pascarella and Yezzo each collected run-scoring singles.
“That was it right there,” Anderson said. “For [Musk] to be able to get out of that inning and for us to be able to score five runs, that was the turning point right there.”
After Minnick’s single, the Blackbirds loaded the bases against Musk. But Musk was determined not to lose the shutout. He got Ryan Daly to hit a grounder to third baseman Kevin Paskevich, who threw home to force out Minnick. Then John Moreau hit a liner that, appropriately, was caught by Musk to end the game.
“He got a little tired at the end, but he was determined to finish the game,” Anderson said. “He was determined not to give up a run. He made sure that didn’t happen.”
Voorheesville 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
Schalmont 120 520 x — 10 14 0
Cardona, Conway (4) and Minnick; Musk and Yezzo.