By PAUL GOTHAM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Jack Burke exceeded expectations. And then some.
Burke started and tossed six-plus innings before igniting a five-run ninth inning as the Penfield Patriots remained undefeated with a 6-2 win over Greece Athena in Monroe County League action, Monday.
The right-hander allowed one run on four hits over six and a third innings. He struck out three and retired 11 on ground ball outs.
“We were hoping to get four innings out of Jack today,” Penfield coach Nick Marcin said. “He was throwing on four days’ rest. We were just hoping to get through four, and he did a great job of keeping his pitch count down. He attacks the zone.”
Burke faced the minimum in four different innings. After surrendering a run in the second, he allowed just one hit over the next four frames while retiring 15 of 17 batters.
“He had some quick innings,” Marcin added. “You can’t say enough about the effort he put in today. He mixes very well. He can throw curve balls in fast ball counts. That is always nice keeping hitters timing off.”
“I was getting ahead of a lot of hitters starting it away,” Burke explained. “When you’re ahead it’s easy to mix it up. Just trying to keep hitters off balance throwing curve balls in fast ball counts.”
Burke’s two-out single in the ninth inning triggered the Penfield offense, and the next five batters reached base.
“We just have nine guys that can swing the bat well,” Burke stated. “We don’t have a single superstar. We all just hit. We play together as a team really well.”
The junior connected on the first offering he saw from Athena reliever James Sciortino and singled into shallow center field.
“I didn’t want to get behind him in the count,” Burke noted. “He has a pretty good curve ball, so the first pitch I saw I wanted to get a swing and see what I could do with it.”
Ryan Kalbfus followed with a single through the left side of the infield before Jack Hartnett brought home the first run of the inning when he reached on an error.
Noah Wulforst delivered the big blow with 2-RBI double down the left field line.
“I was 0-2 with runners in scoring position in the two at bats before that, so I guess the third time is the charm,” Wulforst said. “I was looking for a fastball and he gave me one on the inside half. I was just looking to hit it hard because I hadn’t squared one up to that point in the game.”
Luke Westervelt kept the rally alive with an RBI triple in the left centerfield gap. Kyle Straube capped the inning with an RBI base hit just past the outstretched glove of Athena shortstop, Justin Bunting.
“There are no easy outs in our lineup,” Wulforst said. “We don’t strike out a lot. We put the ball in play.”
Jack DeRue pitched two and two thirds in relief for the win.
Athena starter, Nick Jackson, allowed just one run over seven innings of work.
“He’s been real impressive all year,” Athena coach Jason Bunting said. “That’s his third start of the year, and as far as I’m concerned a quality start. He left the game in my opinion, shutting down one of the better teams in the county. Holding them to one run is pretty good.”
The senior right-hander worked in and out of trouble all day allowing seven hits with just one walk. Jackson left the bases loaded in the first and two more runners on in the second.
He ended three innings with strike outs including freezing a pair of right-handed batters with a two-seam fastball on the outside black of the plate.
“He throws a two-seam that runs back,” Bunting explained. “It depends on the day. It was coming back today. When that’s working, it’s good.”
Athena grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second. Justin LoTemple led with a double to straightaway center field. Sciortino put runners on the corners with a base hit to shallow center, and Jake Kimble delivered an RBI sacrifice fly.
Penfield collected 11 two-out hits in the game. Two other batters reached via hit by pitch with two away. In last Friday’s 8-3 win over Fairport, Penfield scored six of its eight runs with two outs.
“One of the things we’ve been talking about all year is quality outs,” Marcin said. “Not every at bat has to result in a hit to be a quality at bat. They’re starting pitcher (Jackson) was very good. We thought our best chance is to try and get him out, run up his pitch count. Even though we don’t score in those first two innings, we extended those innings. We saw more pitches. We hopefully would run his count up and put together some quality at bats to give us some confidence that we score down the road.”
Penfield (8-0) hosts Rush-Henrietta on Wednesday.
Greece Athena (2-3) hosts Brockport also on Wednesday.
More results from Monday’s Section V action:
Churchville-Chili 13 Webster Thomas 4
Scott Neu tossed a complete game and struck out nine for the Saints (2-3). Neu broke a 4-4 tie with a 2-run single in a 9-run sixth. C-C scored 13 unanswered.
Sutherland 11 Eastridge 3
Sophomore RHP Graham Schild picked up his third win of the season with five innings of work. Senior OF Alec Vaules hit a 2-run HR, and sophomore shortstop Layton Cummings had an RBI double and scored three runs. Sutherland is 6-4.