Pheland nearly perphect!
NEWPORT, R.I. - On the heels of his upperclassman teammate tossing a no-hit gem, Salve Regina University baseball freshman Kyle Pheland (No. Scituate, R.I.) followed Daniel Kehew's (Portsmouth, R.I.) performance by pitching a perfect game for 6.1 innings. Pheland finished with a one-hitter while facing the minimum 21 batters in his first collegiate victory, 3-0 over Wentworth Institute of Technology, to help the Seahawks sweep the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) doubleheader.
Normally for a doubleheader, it's one story, but each of these gems deserves its own recap.
Pheland and his mound counterpart, Wentworth sophomore Dakota Baird (Bermuda Dunes, Calif.), worked quickly. Pheland threw nine pitches in the 1st inning, seven for strikes. In the 2nd, he had two three-pitch strikeouts and ended the frame on a first-pitch grounder to third baseman Anthony Conte (Georgetown, Mass.).
He only needed four pitches to retire the Leopards in the 3rd inning. A first-pitch grounder to shortstop Daniel Donohue (Westbury, N.Y.), an 0-1 flyout to centerfielder Salvatore Cumella (Ridgefield, N.J.), and a first-pitch grounder to Conte.
The second time facing the Leopard lineup in the 4th, second baseman Jon Spitz (Hanover, Mass.) worked a 3-1 count before grounding out to Conte. Senior infielder Conner Flisnik (Marcy, N.Y.) followed with a first-pitch ground out to third.
In the Seahawk 5th, designated hitter Stephen Crawford (Barrington, R.I.) led off with a single. Crawford got erased on Conte's fielder's choice bunt, pitcher to second base. Cumella doubled down the right field line, scoring Conte, and Donohue delivered a second run with a triple to right center. Despite scoring twice, Salve Regina left the bases loaded.
With one out in the Wentworth 6th inning, Pheland issued three straight balls to Ryan Delgado (Wareham, Mass.), the No. 8 hitter in the Leopard order. A called strike, then a swinging strike preceded a long flytout to Cumella. Paul Dassau (Franklin, Mass.) swung at the next Pheland pitch and lined out to Matt Capone (East Providence, R.I.) in left field.
Senior Nicholas Politelli (Warwick, R.I.) beat out a swinging bunt infield single to lead off the Salve Regina 7th inning. He advanced to second on a throwing error, and then third on a sacrifice by Capone. Sophomore Dominic Di Sano (Central Falls, R.I.), who caught Kehew's no-hitter in the opener and Brandon Bursie's no-no last April, delivered an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to center.
Pheland got a 2-2 pitch past the first Wentworth batter to start the final frame. Spitz had an 0-2 count on him before fisting a tough inside pitch over Conte's outstretched glove at third onto the outfield grass, spoiling perfection. Pheland got Flisnik to end the game with a double-play grounder.
"We had to win two so I was going to go out there and pitch regardless of how many hits I let up," said Pheland. He took notice of Kehew's effectiveness and used it to his advantage against the Leopards. "They were swinging through all of Kehew's off speeds, so I had them biting at my changeup. (On pitch to Spitz) It was supposed to be a changeup low but it kind of rode up and in and he was able to get enough bat on it to squeeze out a hit."
Salve Regina improves to 8-14 overall and 3-3 in the league while Wentworth drops to 13-11, 5-3 in conference play. The Seahawks are at regional power Eastern Conecticut State University tomorrow for one game before Easter break. Wentworth travels to Waltham, Mass., to play Lasell College in a 7 p.m. matchup.