BELLAIRE - Head coach John Patrone was well aware that his son Nick's pitch count was getting up there.
However, the Big Reds' skipper also trusts his son and knows the kind of off-season training program he underwent to prepare himself to log a lot of innings this spring.
It all paid off for the Big Reds at sun-splashed Chase Field on Monday afternoon.
BELLAIRE’S Tyler Ramsay is congratulated by head coach John Patrone as he rounds third after connecting on a solo home run in the second inning of Monday’s game against Harrison Central.?The Big Reds went on for a 5-1 victory. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Nick Patrone threw a complete-game, fanning 16 and allowing just two base hits, despite needing 125 pitches to do so as the Big Reds (1-1) posted a 5-1 win against Harrison Central (1-1).
"That's a lot of pitches, but he's thrown like that his entire career," John Patrone said. "He started throwing in December. I didn't want to go quite as high as he did, but he was in the groove and he assured me he felt fine, so I let him go."
Nick Patrone continually had the Huskies' hitters guessing as he mixed a blazing fastball with a wide array off-speed pitches.
"(Patrone) got ahead of hitters, threw a lot of strikes and kept us off balance all day," said first-year Harrison Central head coach Mike Valesko. "When you strike out as often as we did, it's tough to get anything going. We like to run, move guys around the bases and bunt, but he just had us off balance and we couldn't get anything going."
Patrone, issued six walks, recorded strikeouts for the first eight Huskies' outs of the contest.
With Patrone dealing, the Big Reds got their offense, which was blanked Saturday at Linsly, going in a big way.
"As long as his pop is there, I know he's OK, but if he loses that, that's when I know he's getting tired," John Patrone said. "He had a lot of walks, but he was around the plate. And he wasn't wild in the strikezone, so we can live with that."
Junior slugger Tyler Ramsay took a Dustin Redish offering well over the left-field fence for the game's first run to lead off the second.
The Huskies got to Nick Patrone a bit in the fifth. Ninth-hitter Austyn Porter laced a single into left. He stole second before Dalton Rutter walked.
After Patrone recorded a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Redish helped his own cause with a hard-hit single into right, scoring Porter without a play.
The Huskies eventually loaded the bases before Patrone escaped the jam with yet another strikeout.
"We got back into it, but it felt like we were always playing catch-up," Valesko said.
Valesko had Redish on a strict pitch count and lifted him in favor of Zach Arbogast, who was greeted rudely.
He recorded two outs, but walked Spencer Badia, setting the table for junior Hunter Westlake. He laced a double to score Tyler West. Brendan Ross followed with a two-run single. Ramsay drew a free pass and Bralen Snell drove in the fourth run of the inning.
"We came out of the blocks a little slow, but I think as we see more pitchers and live pitching, the offense will continue to come around," Patrone said. "This is a really nice win for us against a well-coached team that's picked up right where it left off last year."
Nick Patrone sat the Huskies down in order in both the sixth and seventh to finish the job.
The Big Reds are off today before returning the trip to Harrison Central on Wednesday. The Huskies, meanwhile, head to Oak Glen this afternoon.
Harrison Central 000 010 0 - 1 2 0
Bellaire 010 040 x - 5 7 0
B: Patrone wp (16K, 6BB) and Back. Ramsay HR, RBI; West, 2B; Westlake, 2B, RBI; Ross, 1B, 2 RBI; Snell 1B, RBI.
HC: Redish (5K, 1BB), Arbogast (5) lp (2K, 1BB) and Staten. Redish 1B, RBI.