Many adjectives could be used to describe the performance had by Liberty ace pitcher Jack Davidson during his team’s commanding 9-0 victory against host South Carroll Wednesday afternoon in a Carroll County Athletic League contest.
Perhaps the best would be efficient, so much so that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and his pitch clock would be proud as the right-handed hurler wasted little time and pitches to subdue his opponent.
Facing a youthful but talented Cavaliers lineup, Davidson faced the minimum of three batters in six of his seven innings of work and threw fewer than 10 pitches in five different innings to finish with an economical 71 pitches on the evening. He allowed two hits in the game.
Davidson’s routine was simple and effective: he would toe the rubber, accept the first sign, and then pound the strike zone, resulting in six strikeouts and numerous groundball outs. Davidson used but a handful of seconds between pitches only slowing his proficient routine to make a quick inquiry of the home plate umpire regarding the location of a rare ball before making a quick adjustment for another swinging or called strike.
“I just like to get the ball and go; it keeps the defense ready,” Davidson said. “If I wait and wait, they tend to fall asleep. My fastball was good. I was able to locate it where I wanted to. South Carroll, we play them every year. We just like to come up and beat them. Show them early we’re ready to play.”
Davidson’s outing was certainly helped by his team’s defense, which turned a trio of double plays, including a solo twin killing by first baseman Kevin Hyde in the fifth inning. Hyde snared a line drive in foul territory and then touched first base to double up the baserunner and end the inning.
“It’s awesome,” said Liberty third baseman Dominic Diblasi of Davidson’s torrid pace. “It keeps the game moving a lot faster, and I think it keeps everybody in the game because when you have a long inning, everyone’s dozing off and having a quick game like that keeps everyone engaged for sure.”
While Davidson was dominating on the mound, Diblasi sparked the Lions (7-0 overall, 4-0 CCAL) offensively, going 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs batted in, and two runs. His second double, a two-run extra-base hit, helped the visitors open up a decisive 5-0 lead in the second inning that included run-scoring singles by Seth Jacobs and Cam Hodges.
The Lions also scored on an error and benefitted from a wild pitch and a passed ball before leaving the bases loaded. Liberty sent 11 to the plate in the top of the second inning.
“That was a huge moment; you could tell things we were going to go our way for sure,” Diblasi said. “When the top five guys in our lineup are hitting and the rest of the lineup is hitting–we even put our backups in and they hit the (crap) out of the ball. It was awesome.
“I kind of jumped on the first pitch. That was where I liked it, and I got a lot of those today and it shows.”
Liberty’s lead grew to 7-0 as the Lions pushed two across home plate in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Hodges and a double to the base of the right field fence by Hyde on a hanging curveball. Michael Martin singled to start the top of the fifth inning and later scored on a couple of infield miscues for an 8-0 advantage. The final run came on a shallow flyball hit to shallow right field by Rylan Palle in the seventh.
Jackson Strzelczyk and Lance Greer collected South Carroll’s two hits. Josh Pribulick closed the game on the mound for the Cavaliers, working two straight outs in relie to shut down Liberty’s seventh-inning rally.
“We cannot allow the extra outs,” said South Carroll coach Brian Zawacki, whose squad committed some costly miscues en route to its third straight defeat, dropping it to 3-4 (1-3 CCAL). “It puts a lot of pressure on the pitcher. We are working every day to get better, but we can’t allow the extra outs. We have to make the routine play and if we do that, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, we’ll suffer the consequences.”
LIBERTY 9, SOUTH CARROLL 0
Liberty 0 5 0 2 1 0 1 - 9 13 0
South Carroll 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 2 2
WP - Jack Davidson. LP - Braden Cordrey. 2B: Liberty - Dominic Diblasi 3, Kevin Hyde, Rocco Dietz. RBI: Liberty - Dominic Diblasi 2, Kevin Hyde 2, Rylan Palle, Seth Jacobs.