SALAMANCA — On a cold early April afternoon, Joseph Long and Brandon Murray, two Portville pitchers making their debuts, never let Salamanca’s bats heat up.
Long and Murray combined for an abbreviated one-hitter in Portville’s second game of the baseball season, shutting out Salamanca 10-0 in five innings.
Long threw the first three innings, striking out four and walking two. Then Murray shut the door in the last two innings, striking out five with two walks, before reaching the five-inning, 10-run “mercy” rule.
"That's Joe Long's first start, Brandon Murray's first-ever pitching performance and we're happy with that," Panthers coach Mike Matz said. "They're very, very different. Joe is more of a control, curveball guy. I don't know anything about Brandon Murray as a pitcher, but Brandon we knew had a live arm in the gym, so one day I just said, 'Hey, why don't you get on the mound.' And he was consistently 77, 78, I thought, 'alright,' and throwing strikes. So we thought let's see what actually happens."
Murray also had three of Portville’s six hits for the game, going 3-for-4 with four RBIS and three stolen bases.
Also four the Panthers (2-0), Cameron Lott doubled, Nathan Kloc scored three runs and Dominic Pascucci and Tyler Morris drove in two runs each.
Coming off of two winless seasons, the Warriors got their first victory in their season opener last week.
"I told the kids, 'Salamanca, they're better,'" Matz said. "I knew that coming into it and we scored three in the first and I thought, 'OK, good.' And then we stopped and that was partially because their pitcher was doing a good job and we weren't cashing in. But even when it's cold, it gets contagious, the hitting does."
Freshman catcher Shawn Bacelli singled in the first inning for Salamanca’s lone hit.
After Portville’s three-run top of the first, Salamanca starting pitcher Lucas McKenna settled in for the next two innings to keep it a three-run game. But Portville pulled away in the fourth with five runs on two hits, three walks and a dropped third strike.
McKenna struck out seven, walked seven and two of his eight runs allowed were unearned.
“They got an early jump, we didn't respond to that as well as I thought we coulda, shoulda, woulda, maybe,” Salamanca coach Mike “Smitty” Smith said. “We battled back in the middle, but hey, pretty good pitching. Their guys threw the ball really well (and) we didn't hit it.”
Starting an eighth-grader, three freshmen and two sophomores, Smith wanted to see more plate discipline. The Warriors struck out for eight of their 15 outs.
"We're learning," Smith said. "We’re developing. We're so young. We didn't stay off of (Long's) curveball. We swung at that pitch repeatedly."
The Warriors didn’t hit enough to compete with Portville, but Matz came away impressed with the young team’s energy.
"Smitty's an awesome guy and he's in it for the right reasons. He's taking them south (on spring break), which I think is great,” Matz said. “I think he's got kids excited about playing and that's half the battle. You've got have them want to be out there and I think he's doing it. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous coming into this game because I thought we'd see that McKenna kid and he's not bad at all. Then you never know, it's cold, we're throwing somebody who hasn't pitched a lot and who knows what'll happen?"