Eric Truss remains relatively unhittable by being, well, utterly hittable.
A quintessential ground-ball pitcher with a moving fastball that makes its mark (and messes up hitters) low in the zone, the Chaminade righthander knows the guys behind him are going to get a workout. If the results continue to be anything like yesterday's 5-0 win over host St. John the Baptist in CHSAA, it's hard to imagine anyone complaining about it.
Truss allowed four hits -- one in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings -- and struck out only one during six innings of weak grounders and dejected walks back to the dugout.
"I was being aggressive and attacking the zone," Truss said. "I was trying not to get behind anyone because when you get ahead, it forces them to take bad swings."
Eleven of his 18 outs came on grounders, and the Cougars (8-7) didn't elevate the ball in fair territory until Jonathan Tenaglia's double to deep left with one out in the third. It was SJB's only extra-base hit, which highlighted Truss' ability to tantalize hitters with his deceptively frustrating repertoire.
The equation, said Chaminade coach Mike Pienkos, is simple. "He throws strikes, he doesn't overpower people and we play good defense behind him," he said. It doesn't hurt that the Flyers -- who have scored in double digits four times in the wooden-bat league this season -- know how to swing the stick.
That much was evident as early as the second batter of the game, courtesy of Terrence Connelly's double to right. He advanced to third when the ball was misplayed in the outfield and scored one batter later on Shaun Caulfield's single to right.
The Flyers (11-3, 12-3) erupted for three more runs in the fifth, sparked by Ryan Hopke's one-out walk and followed by three straight hits: a single to left by Mike Ferranti, a two-run double by Connelly and a run-scoring single by Tommy Roulis.
"It was the third time around and we'd seen [starter Chris Lemorocco] a little bit," said Connelly, who went 3-for-4 (all doubles) with two RBIs and scored three runs. "I got a pitch to hit and went the other way."
Truss kept picking away, relying on a sparkling infield anchored by Connelly at shortstop and Roulis at second. Roulis showed impressive range throughout -- never more so than with a diving play on the cusp of the outfield grass to nail the second batter of the game at first.
"I trust my infield, especially on [SJB's] turf field," Truss said. "Just let them hit ground balls all day."