The pregame hype was all about two hard-throwing Division I-bound righthanders. The showdown between Newfield senior Brandon Alberto, headed to New York Tech, and Half Hollow Hills West's Jon Faraci, signed by St. John's, never materialized Wednesday.
Someone forgot to tell the Newfield offense this was a pitchers' duel. The Wolverines slammed 11 hits and pounded previously undefeated Hills West, 10-5, in a Suffolk League IV baseball game in Dix Hills.
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The Wolverines jumped to a 3-0 lead and made Faraci throw 31 first-inning pitches. Senior leadoff man Joe Pepe got it started when he slapped a single, the first of his three hits in the game.
"He's a little guy who barrels up every swing," Hills West coach Tom Migliozzi said. "He's quite impressive. He hits everything you throw up there."
It was Pepe's three-run double off the base of the fence in rightfield in the top of the sixth that turned a close 7-4 game into a rout.
"He fell behind in the count," Pepe said. "And it was a fastball right down the middle and I jumped on it."
Newfield (1-1) was all over Faraci, touching him for seven hits, four walks and five earned runs through four innings. The 6-7 righthander never found his rhythm as Newfield went opposite field with five of those hits.
"Getting our first win on the road in this league is a really big deal," said Newfield coach Paul Pedersen. "And doing it against a top pitcher and Hills West is an even bigger deal."
While Newfield put the hurt on the Hills West staff, Alberto, despite four errors, shut down the Colts' offense. He scattered four hits, walked five, struck out 11 and allowed two earned runs.
"Alberto is as good a pitcher as we're going to see this year," Migliozzi said. "If you score five runs off a quality pitcher like Brandon Alberto you better win that game. He's a very tough pitcher."
Alberto struck out the final batter to end the second, third, fifth and seventh innings.
"They're the best team in our league and this is a huge win," Alberto said. "We played with a lot of energy. And I like that we bounced back from a loss to them earlier in the week. We can compete with anyone."
The stunning loss left the Colts (4-1) in the home dugout looking for some answers. "You cannot win a game when you let up 12 hits, walk seven and your offense strikes out 11 times," Migliozzi said. "That's definitely a formula for a loss. We did not play well and Newfield swung the bats very well."