COHASSET, Mass. — Jamie Faber said pitching is all about confidence.
After his performance against East Bridgewater, the confidence felt by the coaching staff and the rest of his teammates probably grew ten-fold in the Skippers’ (17-2) right-handed pitcher.
Faber was brilliant in Cohasset’s 1-0 victory over the Vikings (13-4) to take the outright lead in the South Shore League as he struck out 10 and only allowed two hits in a complete-game shutout.
The coaching staff has held back Faber from logging major innings before the biggest game of the year, and Faber credited some extra rest to why he was so sharp from the first pitch to his 92nd.
“All day I was thinking about this game,” said Faber. “I knew how good they are and how they can put the ball in play. I just focused...I had more than a week off to prepare myself for this game, so I was full-throttle today.
“It’s not something that I need, but it helps a lot. My velocity tends to get lower towards the end of the innings, but my arm doesn’t even hurt right now, so it helps a lot.”
Freshman Jake Pierce lined a single into right in the first inning off of Faber, but that was all the Vikings would get until their final at-bats. Faber retired 18 in a row at one point, and from innings two through six he was throwing a perfect game. The righty picked up eight of his 10 strikeouts in that timeframe and only went to one, three-ball count as he was putting hitters away quickly.
“That’s one of the best games I’ve seen from my team pitch over the last four or five years,” said Skippers head coach Peter Afanasiw. “Against that lineup, it was unbelievable. I didn’t think one run was going to hold up in the first inning. I’m glad it did.”
Tense Situation in Seventh: Casey DeAndrade — who also started, but more on that later — only saw four pitches in his first two at-bats against Faber. He stayed a little bit more patent in the bottom of the seventh as he broke the string of 18 hitters retired by the Cohasset starter with a liner to right.
DeAndrade put his head down out of the box and with the infield playing back — because of the power the Vikings star posses to all field — he motored his way on to second to put the tying run in scoring position with one out.
Faber locked in to get a fly out to second base on the next hitter, and Colin Gideon-Murphy just got Brett DeBenedictis with his throw from the shortstop position to record the final out of the game.
“(In) last year’s state championship game, I’ve been here before and even in a worse situation with bases loaded no outs in that game,” said Faber. “I fought through that, so I feel it I can get through that then I can get through anything. It’s a game of confidence and I think I had that today.”
DeAndrade Shakes Off Earler Struggles: DeAndrade has been on the losing end of a 1-0 game already this season when he pitched good enough to get a win against Marshfield. In the first inning, DeAndrade was overthrowing, most notably on the third pitch of the game when he let out a loud grunt as he released a high fastball, and not commanding the strike zone.
He needed 24 pitches to get out of the inning and a miscue in the outfield allowed Faber to come around with the only run of the game.
DeAndrade came out for the second inning and the Skippers’ hitters helped him out with an aggressive approach that netted two outs with three pitches thrown. From that moment on, DeAndrade matched Faber pitch for pitch.
DeAndrade was near perfect from the second inning on as he only allowed a single to Faber in the sixth inning for the second hit of the game for the Skippers. The Vikings ace threw 49 pitches after the first inning to get the complete game. He threw 73 pitches and only 20 balls and finished with six strikeouts.
“I think was overthrowing (in the first inning),” said DeAndrade. “I was a little pumped up. That was the football player in me. I started to settle down.”
“With Casey he’s a football player,” added Vikings head coach Pat Cronin. “I always tell him before the game started that ‘you have to gear it down. If you can someway put it on the backburner we need you under control.’”