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Carroll, Red Raiders blank St. B's
Not a bad way to make your season debut on the bump. Originally slated to take the ball for the Fitchburg baseball team in its season opener last Wednesday, senior right-hander Jameson Carroll was at the tail end of rehabbing a slight, undisclosed injury. And with cool temps sliding over the North County, one can't take the chance of aggravating it. So with St. Bernard's making the short drive to the Fitchburg High on a beautiful spring Wednesday afternoon, Carroll stepped onto the bump like he didn't miss a step. The FHS ace threw six innings of one-hit ball against the Bernardians, fanning six and walking three on 85 pitches to give the Red and Gray a solid 6-0 bounce-back win over the Blue and Gold. Fitchburg improved to 3-1 on the season, and will re-set its pitching to really dive into the Mid-Wach C calendar starting with next Wednesday's tilt against Oakmont Regional. St. Bernard's fell to 2-3 and will host Burncoat at Holman Field next Monday. Carroll was simply outstanding Wednesday. He was perfect through four frames -- 12 up, 12 down -- and did so on 45 pitches, with four K's in that spell. He threw 15 first-pitch strikes to 22 hitters. "Really, it was more than we could ask for, especially coming off the injury and having not pitched outdoors; it was a great outing," Fitchburg Hall of Fame coach Ray Cosenza said. "He threw strikes, had command of most of his pitches. It was a perfect outing for him; he got his feet wet now, and now he can get stronger and stronger. "Unless someone is coming off little rest, we play (the length of an outing) by ear; he was begging to stay in (after six). That was high enough." Carroll said his arm was fine after his first performance of the spring. "I did some flat mound bullpens before doing my first raised mound bullpen, so I came out nice and loose," he said, noting his two-seam fastball was incredibly effective. "Not having any pains from the previous injury. I felt good; I had to stay on top of batters for strikes." He lost the perfect game with a full-count leadoff walk to Keegan Sharp. He'd give up the second walk to David Gardiner three hitters later, but Anthony Silverio's quick thinking on Wyatt Bingham's hot shot up the middle saw him scurry to the second base bag to keep the no-hit bid intact through five. "(Carroll) is a quality pitcher," longtime St. B's coach Jim Beauregard said. "He threw strikes and was around the plate." That ended with Aidan Linnane's base hit to left to lead off the sixth, but he didn't get further than second -- the furthest any St. B's base-runner managed to get against either Carroll or reliever Will Vargo. Vargo allowed a walk and two hits in his 14-pitch outing, getting a 1-4-3 game-ending double play started on a comebacker to the mound. Situational hitting came into play for Fitchburg, which took a 1-0 lead in the second. "We strung a few that (St. Bernard's) made quite a few plays on, but we got some runs and enough that we needed," Cosenza said. Carroll helped his own cause with a base hit to right off Anthony DiNardo before he went to second on an Edwin Santana walk. Sammy Robichaud sacrificed himself back to DiNardo to move the runners up 90 feet, before Tai Le hit a sac fly to Dom Cuevas in center to get Carroll in. It stayed that way until the fourth, when FHS rallied with one out. Santana walked for the second time before he stole second. Robichaud reached on an infield single to the left side, getting Santana to third before a wild pitch on ball four to Le brought Santana in. Devin LeBlanc walked, but two more wild pitches with Silverio at bat brought in both Robichaud and Le giving Fitchburg a 4-0 advantage. FHS added two more in the sixth and Mike Cooper and Carroll both scored. DiNardo went 41/3 innings, giving up four hits and striking out one. He walked four. "He pitched well," Cosenza praised. "He kept us off-balance. It was a really good outing by him, so we needed Jameson to be the way he was. Thank goodness he had good stuff."
   
Author: Sean Sweeney