King baseball slams St. Luke's
King pitcher Matt Molinaro has been giving his team valuable innings out of the bullpen all season, but with a few arms on the shelf Molinaro was called on to make his first varsity start Tuesday at St. Luke's and he made the most of it.
Never mind the start was coming on the road against one of the FAA's top pitchers in Ben Rappaport, Molinaro tossed five shut-out innings, striking out three and allowing just two hits as King rolled over the Storm 11-3 at St. Luke's.
Molinaro said working with an experienced catcher in Cris Ruiz made the transition to a starting role easier.
"My four-seam outside was working and my catcher is great and knows exactly where we want it," Molinaro said. "When I'm starting I have to start from square one. I have to get a feel for the hitters first and once I did that I settled in. Once we got a few runs my confidence got built up because I knew I couldn't screw up too much."
The King bats, which took a short vacation against Brunswick last week, were back in top form Tuesday, pounding out 10 hits and taking advantage of several miscues by the Storm.
Liam Quigley delivered the big blow with a grand slam over the left-field fence in the sixth inning as the Vikings broke open a 2-run game with four in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth.
"We have been hitting the ball well," King coach Ken Lewis said. "Before we played Brunswick last Friday we had a stretch where we scored 81 runs in five games, so, I knew we were going to hit. Ben Rappaport is a great pitcher but Anthony Frangiose set the tempo of the game with that big double in the first inning and kind of put St. Luke's back on their heels."
Frangiose tripled, coming in to score on a single by Ruiz and the Vikings added one in the second when Quigley scored on a wild pitch.
Quigley was 2 for 4 with 4 RBI and two runs; Ruiz singled and walked three times, scoring twice; Connor Bamford had two RBI after Ruiz was intentionally walked in front of him twice and Bobby Wyman went 3 for 5 with two runs scored.
With Molinaro off the hill, St. Luke's scratched out three runs in the sixth with Rappaport driving in one and Will Twomey plating two with a single to left.
For St. Luke's, Rappaport was sharp through four innings before getting touched up in the fifth.
"We just have to make plays behind him. That was one of his better days pitching to contact but we need to make the plays behind him," Storm coach Antonio Conte said. "It looked like we were right on their guy but I was kind of surprised we were not hitting him more. We were just missing but that's baseball."