Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl seemed hyped up for pre-game introductions when the Cardinals hosted John Carroll on Tuesday afternoon, at one point leaving the dugout prematurely in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opener for both schools.
Although Eckerl was eager to get things started, the first pitch had to be delayed because Andrew Witczak wasn’t done warming up in the bullpen.
Eckerl hardly minded the wait, especially when he saw the kind of stuff the senior left-hander was bringing to the battle.
Witczak threw a one-hitter across six innings to lead Calvert Hall to a 9-0 victory. He struck out seven and walked one.
“I really like the way Andrew threw today," Eckerl said. "He stayed ahead in the count and kept the ball down."
Robbie Jones (2-for-3, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs), Alex Murphy (3-for-3, triple) and Colin Gimblet (2-for-2, triple, RBI) led the offense.
Calvert Hall opened the scoring in the bottom of the second when Gimblet, who knocked in the only run in last year's conference championship victory over Archbishop Curley, led off with a triple to the right-center field gap and scored on Zach Rowe’s sacrifice bunt to the pitcher.
That was all the run support Witczak would need. He retired 11 of the first 13 hitters, only allowing Nick Flayhart to reach on an infield error in the second and JC Clayton's bloop single to right in the fourth.
The Cardinals turned two double plays to aid Witczak's cause.
In the third, Calvert Hall pushed its lead to 5-0, scoring all of its runs (three unearned) with two outs when Ron Farley’s single to center field drove in Richard Rodriguez and Jones knocked in Farley and Gimblet with a double to the left-center field gap.
“We made too many mistakes,” John Carroll coach Steve Teter said. “We gave them too many outs and you can’t do that against a good-hitting ball club like that.”
Calvert Hall added four runs in the sixth, highlighted by run-scoring singles from Murphy and Rodriguez.
Junior right-hander David Gately came on to pitch the seventh for the Cardinals, yielding a double to Connor Reeves and a single to Collin McCaughey before retiring the final two batters.
Clayton replaced right-handed starter Nick Flayhart after he went four innings and gave up five runs (two earned) while striking out two batters and walking two.