With a curveball, slider, change-up and fastball, senior Matt Starai had his choice of four pitches to keep Waubonsie Valley off-balance Monday afternoon in St. Charles.
Starai showed great command of each pitch, allowing just 3 hits in a 10-0 victory in six innings.
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In improving his own record to 3-0 and his team's to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the Upstate Eight Conference, Starai fanned nine without walking a batter.
"I like to mix them all in there," Starai said. "I wanted to attack the strike zone today. My defense really helped me out, making good plays behind me. I have a lot of faith in them."
Waubonsie Valley (3-5, 2-2) had its best chances to score early, stranding four runners in the first two innings. Saints catcher Adam Rojas pounced on a dribbler in front of the plate and fired to first base to save a run and end the second inning.
After that Starai hit his stride, retiring 11 straight hitters until an infield single by Drew Ellam in the sixth inning. Starai quickly erased Ellam on the next batter with a 6-4-3 double play grounder.
"Matt has had a wonderful season," Saints coach Len Asquini said. "Taking charge, locating his pitches. We're really happy with how he's started the season."
Starai worked quickly on the mound, not wasting any time between pitches. In the middle innings he had a stretch of an 11-pitch, 7-pitch and 9-pitch inning.
"I just like to work quick out there," Starai said. "Stay up-tempo. Usually if you can get a quick inning the offense will feed off that and get a couple runs for you. I like to keep the guys involved in the game."
Waubonsie Valley starter Troy Fumagalli (1-2), a Wisconsin football recruit, struck out three in the first two innings.
The Saints got to him in the third, starting when Brannon Barry used his speed to beat out what looked to be a routine grounder to shortstop for an infield single. Barry stole second -- St. Charles East was a perfect 9 for 9 stealing bases -- and scored on a double by Rojas.
Jack Dellostritto ripped a double over center fielder Tyler Hasper's head for an RBI, and he scored when Isaac Nimick lined an opposite field single for a 3-0 lead.
While Starai kept the Warriors' bats quiet, the Saints added two more runs in the fifth with just 1 hit, a single by Brian Sobieski. Nicholas Erickson and Joe Hoscheit walked -- Hoscheit walked three times -- and both came in to score.
Waubonsie Valley coach Dan Fezzuoglio pulled Fumagalli after five innings, and the Saints put five more runs on the board in the sixth to end the game early. Nick Huskisson capped the rally -- fueled by a hit batter, walk and two errors -- with a 2-run single.
"We finally put a complete game together," Asquini said. "We did some really nice things with the ball, with our approach, got some big hits, took advantage of our ability to run the bases. It was a very good ballgame for us."
Left-handers have given the Saints trouble early this season, so Asquini was especially pleased with his team's at-bats against Fumagalli.
A fully extended diving catch by right fielder Jake Bennema was one of the few highlights for Fezzuoglio's squad.
"That was one of the bright spots for us today," Fezzuoglio said. "Jake has done a real good job for us out there defensively. That was probably the biggest positive of the day.
"Credit to their pitcher, he threw strikes and did a real good job keeping us off-balance. We had some chances early, we just didn't score early and that changes the momentum. Overall we did not play well today in all facets of the game. We're two different teams and today we were not the team we want to be."