OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Turns out a surprise start was just what Brady Murray needed to get his season on track.
Murray tossed a four-hit shutout Thursday to lead Cheverus to a 5-0 victory against Scarborough in an SMAA baseball game at The Ballpark.
Not bad for a guy who was given the ball five minutes before the game.
“I had no idea,” Murray said about the start. “Coach was like, ‘Murray’s pitching.’ I was like, ‘I’m Murray.’ I actually think that was probably the best thing for me, not to know.”
Cheverus Coach Mac McKew didn’t mince words when asked about Murray, who led the Stags (9-5) to a fifth straight win.
“That was Brady’s career game for us,” said McKew. “He is more than capable of pitching games like that, and he did it for us in Legion last year in our run through the state and Northeast regional tournaments. He was a real key factor. He’s struggled this year with control.”
The Stags staked Murray to a lead in the first inning. After Ryan Casale hit a one-out double to center, Drew Ferrick reached on an error, moving Casale to third, and Chris Tinsman followed with a run-scoring single to give Cheverus a 1-0 lead.
Murray did show some effects of the late notice early in the game.
The Red Storm (12-2) loaded the bases in two of the first three innings — with no outs in the second and two outs in the third.
In the second, Murray induced a shallow fly to right before getting back-to-back strikeouts.
In the third, Murray got out of the inning with the fifth of his nine strikeouts.
“I went out and my warmups were a little off, and I knew I had to get back into it,” said Murray, who allowed one hit over the final four innings. “I had to really dig deep.”
Cheverus added to its lead in the third.
After Casale led off with a triple, Scarborough starter Nate Wessel issued a pair of walks to load the bases.
An error brought in the first run of the inning and spelled the end for Wessel. Matt Hartl retired the first batter he faced before Felix del Vecchio singled to drive in two and put the Stags ahead 4-0.
The Stags closed the scoring in the fourth when Tinsman collected his second RBI of the game with a single.
While the Stags are rising as the tournament approaches, Scarborough is facing its first real adversity.
After opening with 12 victories, Scarborough has lost two straight.
“We couldn’t get anything happening,” said Coach Ryan Jones. “Our offense right now is struggling. I don’t know if it’s our approach at the plate or something mental.”