Pitching excels Trojans to two wins at Casa Roble

By: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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The Oak Ridge baseball team began its Easter tournament at Casa Roble High on Monday with a resounding theme: Dominant pitching. Sophomore Austin Root started the day with a complete game four-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over Casa Roble before senior Lance Berringer matched Root’s performance by carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning in a 9-1 Trojan victory against Lincoln High in the late game. Oak Ridge (7-2) pushed five, two-out runs across in the bottom of the sixth against Lincoln, increasing their chances of playing at Raley Field for the tournament title on Wednesday. The Trojans got run-scoring hits from Alec deWatteville, Cody Morris (his second RBI-double of the game), Zack Mahon, and Cody Uharriet (double) in the inning, giving Oak Ridge a 9-0 cushion heading into the final frame. Berringer was the story of the later game, however, working efficiently with his fastball and locating strike one throughout the game. The right-hander needed fewer than 10 pitches in four of his seven innings of work to get the Trojans back to the dugout while tallying eight strikeouts on the afternoon. “I just tried to work ahead with first pitch strikes and hit my spots,” said Berringer, who admittedly knew he had taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Jake Sola’s leadoff line drive in the seventh zoomed just past the outstretched glove of Trojan third baseman Jason Ross for a double, counting for the Zebra’s first hit of the game. Sola later scored on a second double from Trent Parks, halting the Trojans’ second shutout bid of the day before Berringer fanned the final two batters to close the door on Lincoln. “I wasn’t really disappointed (in losing the no-hitter) because I knew I was still out there throwing so I just had to stay focused. It was exciting going out there knowing I had a chance for a no-hitter,” said a smiling Berringer, who also turned a pair of comebackers into double plays to get out of the fifth and sixth innings. “That’s two really good performances by (Berringer). He located very well today and didn’t really have to go to his secondary pitches,” said Oak Ridge coach Todd Melton, who was quick to praise his other young starter from the early game as well. “Root was spectacular. He’s a sophomore and in his 18 or 19 innings, he’s only given up about 11 hits and a walk. It’s pretty incredible.” Oak Ridge will play at Oakmont on Tuesday before a likely trip to Raley Field on Wednesday for either the consolation or championship game at 4 and 7 p.m., respectively. “We’re just trying to keep things in perspective, but we should start feeling pretty good about ourselves,” said Melton. “Today gave us a couple of pretty good wins.”