Kenny Schimpf had labored through the first three innings on Tuesday, allowing six runs and six hits to Immaculate Heart Central.
The Watertown junior right-hander was even close to being pulled by Cyclones coach Matt Covey when he got in further trouble in the fourth.
But just when it seemed he was done, Schimpf grew stronger. He struck out the final two batters in the IHC fourth, spaced three hits the rest of the way and finished with a complete game as WHS rallied to beat the Cavaliers 10-6 in a Frontier League A Division baseball game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
The loss, the first in league play for IHC (13-2 overall, 10-1 league), gives the Cyclones (10-3, 8-1) a chance to tie for the regular season title if they win their final three games against Lowville (doubleheader on Thursday) and South Jefferson (Saturday).
IHC has one league game remaining against South Jefferson at home on Friday.
Schimpf was an unlikely candidate to go the distance as he struggled with his location early. IHC scored two runs on two hits in the first inning, added another run in the second and scored three more times on three hits in the third to seize a 6-4 lead.
I couldnt throw my two-seam fastball where I wanted it, and they hit it pretty good, Schimpf said. Once I got that down and made some better pitches, I was a lot more effective.
A pair of WHS errors also didnt help Schimpf in the first two innings as Spencer Sharlow, who went 2-for-4, drove in a pair of runs for IHC.
After scoring a run in the top of the first on Joe Fredas RBI double, the Cyclones broke through against IHC starter Jake Fusilli. Fusilli, who had tossed a complete-game six-hitter in IHCs 11-3 win over WHS on May 5, yielded four runs on four hits in the third, and five more runs on six hits in the fourth. WHS batted around both innings to take a 10-6 lead.
When Jakes effective, hes down in the zone because he doesnt throw that hard, IHC coach Mike Delaney said. Today, he got everything up and they hit it hard.
Freda, who finished 3-for-4, drove in two more runs with a single in the WHS third. Chris Bristow also singled in a run, and Christian Jorden plated a run on a sacrifice fly.
IHC had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth, but could not score as Schimpf fanned Josh Navarra and Sharlow to end that rally.
Collin Jorden (3-for-5) got the WHS five-run fifth-inning rally started with a single. Jarrod Bellinger followed with a single, and Freda drove in Jorden with another double. After Bellinger scored on an IHC throwing error, Steve Hatchell tripled in another run. Killian LaDue contributed a sacrifice fly and Christian Jordens groundout produced the 10th run.
I probably left Jake in a little too long, said Delaney, whose club was playing its seventh game over nine days.
Covey said his club is finally starting to swing the bats with authority. We had only two hits and won (3-1 over Indian River on Monday), but we also hit well against Carthage (a 7-1 win last Friday).
After WHS took the lead for good, Schimpf did the rest. He retired the side in order in the fifth. He then helped himself by picking off an IHC runner with two outs and a runner on third in the Cavaliers sixth.
I dont usually throw over (to first) that much, Schimpf said. I guess I just caught him leaning.
Schimpf then allowed a two-out single in the IHC seventh before getting Cyrus Beckman to fly out to right for the final out.
I have to give (catcher) Nick (Lavin) and my defense all the credit, Schimpf said.
Freshman Vincenzo Alteri finished 4-for-4 for IHC.