Sofinski gets win in first varsity start; Thomas improves to 3-0

Paul Sofinski retired the first 13 batters he faced and struck out nine over 5.2 innings of work.

By PAUL GOTHAM

WEBSTER, N.Y. — Paul Sofinski lost his grip on a one-strike curveball in the fifth inning. The pitch fluttered to the turf like a whiffle ball caught in the wind.

That was about the only thing the Webster Thomas senior didn’t command on Thursday afternoon.

Sofinski retired the first 13 batters he faced and picked up the win as the Titans defeated Hilton, 4-1.

“He did a good job locating,” Webster Thomas head coach Kevin Neenan said. “He did enough to really kept them off-balance.”

Using a fastball, change-up combination in the early innings before working in his curveball during the later innings, the right-hander struck out nine without surrendering a walk.

“I trusted my stuff,” the senior said. “It was composure and command. That’s a recipe for success.”

He allowed two balls out of the infield the first time through the Hilton lineup – a line drive off the bat of Niagara University commit Preston Prince to start the second and then he sandwiched a routine fly ball from Drew Bateman in the third with a pair of ground balls.

“You got to have confidence and composure,” he said. “You got to trust your pitches. I had great defense tonight.”

And the Thomas offense put runs on the board early.

Mitchell Kelly worked a leadoff walk in the first inning. The senior centerfielder stole second and eventually came home on passed ball.

“It was big for us in the first inning when Mitchell got on,” Neenan stated. “Mitch is pretty tough. He can run the bases, steal some bases for us. We put it in motion and stole a run in first inning. That’s big for our pitcher to go to the mound up one-to-nothing. That’s a nice start.”

Thomas used a two-out rally in the third inning to add to the lead with Garett Wilson supplying the hit.

“I got deep in the count,” Wilson said of his at-bat against Hilton starter James Capellupo. “He was throwing consistent sliders at me. I knew it was going to be another one. I sat and it was on the outside corner. I just ripped it.”

Wilson brought home Greyson McDonnell with his single to right center.

“He had a lot of motion,” Wilson said of Capellupo’s pitch. “There was a lot of late tail on the ball. It would always break to the outside corner.”

Wilson’s brother, Colby, made it a 4-0 game in the fifth when he plated Kelly and McDonnell with a two-out single.

Kelly came on to pitch with a run in and a runner on third in the sixth. The right-hander induced a ground ball to end the threat. He retired all four batters he faced, two on strikes to register the save.

“He’s our closer,” Neenan said of Kelly. “He relishes that role. It’s nice to have a senior who wants the ball at the end of the game. He did a great job.”

Thomas improved to 3-0 on the season.

“That’s a very good win for the kids,” Neenan said. “We knew Hilton was going to be a challenge.”

Hilton’s Jacob Soricone broke up the perfect game with a base hit. Tyler Cerame reached on a two-out infield single in the sixth and scored the Cadets only run when teammate Mike Whelehan tripled.

Capellupo struck out six over four and two-thirds innings of work. The UMass-Lowell commit retired six straight from the end of the first into the third.

“We knew we were going to face a good pitcher,” Neenan said of the Hilton starter. “He’s tough on the mound and keeps attacking.”

Logan Batz retired four of the five batters he faced, one on strikes.

Hilton fell to 1-2 on the season after taking its opener on Monday.

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