HOUSTON – Chartiers-Houston junior pitcher Alec Ferrari didn’t mind the cold weather. Despite the thermometer reading 40 degrees, the sun shining on Allison Park was a welcome sight for the right-hander after countless indoor practices.
Using a combination of four pitches, Ferrari struck out 11 and pitched a complete game to lead the Bucs past Brownsville, 9-4.
With the victory, Chartiers-Houston (4-1, 6-1) moved into second place in Section 2-AA and completed a season sweep of the Falcons (5-2, 6-4).
After a tough second inning, Ferrari allowed just three hits over the remainder of the game and only one run, that in the top of the seventh. Mixing speeds and location with a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball and changeup, he made 11 batters strike out swinging.
Brownsville scored three runs on three hits in the second inning, but the Falcons were then held to just one hit and no runs until they entered the seventh inning with a six-run deficit. Ferrari allowed back-to-back singles in the final inning and one run on a fielder’s choice.
“That’s how it goes sometimes,” Ferrari said. “I struggled early and found my groove. It happens that way. They can really swing the bat. I knew we had to keep them guessing and mix things up.”
The Bucs struck early when senior third baseman Troy Whitfield hit a two-run double down the right-field line in the first inning for a 2-0 lead, and they would need it after Ferrari got in trouble in the second inning. Ryan Novotney led off the second with a double for Brownsville and came around to score on a RBI-single by Taylor May. Falcons senior pitcher Cole Novotney knocked in two more runs on a double to give the Falcons a 3-2 lead.
Brownsville seemed to seize momentum with Novotney on the mound as the right-hander struck out seven in the first three innings before his defense failed him in the fourth. Tyler Day hit a fly ball that the Falcons’ second baseman dropped and Miles Williamson hit an RBI-single to tie the game at 3-3.
“We played as well as we could have played,” Chartiers-Houston coach Vince Capozza said. “We’re getting better every game and that has a lot to do with just being outside. The weather forced us to practice inside so much and we’re finally able to get quality at-bats in. It’s a huge win for us.”
The Bucs took the lead in the sixth when Novotney walked four batters, which culminated in Williamson drawing a bases-loaded walk.
Ferrari took it from there. Pounding the inside of the plate with his fastball early in the count and keeping batters off balance later with off-speed pitches on the outside corner, he struck out the side in the sixth inning.
Chartiers-Houston added five runs in the bottom of the sixth, when Falcons relief pitcher Devin Braddock walked the first two hitters before back-to-back RBI-hits by Ferrari and senior catcher Doug DiNardo. Williamson, who was 2-for-3 with 3 RBI, knocked in two more on an infield single and Kodie Hanley added an RBI to give the Bucs the insurance they needed against a strong Brownsville offense.
When Chartiers-Houston prepared to go back onto the field in the seventh to try to finish the game, Ferrari was nervous his pitching day was over. With a six-run lead, Capozza admitted that he considered making a change, but knew how much his pitcher wanted to finish what he started.
“I badly wanted to finish that game,” Ferrari said. “I thought (Capozza) might pull me because I had thrown a lot of pitches, but I wanted the chance to finish. It always feels great to finish a game with a strikeout, especially against a team like that.”