Division righthander Mike Knapp was throwing seeds on Monday.
He also may have helped the Dragons plant the seed that, despite playing a lot of sophomores and juniors, they could be a force to be reckoned with after a 6-0 victory over host Bethpage.
Knapp painted the black on the inside and outside of the plate with a deceptively quick fastball and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a one-out infield hit to Conor Burns. Knapp ended up settling for the one-hit shutout.
“I didn’t know I had it going,” Knapp said of the no-hit bid. “After the infield hit, I realized it. It sort of [disappoints] for it to come out a one-hitter that way, but I’ll take it.”
Division is 4-0 in Nassau A-3. Bethpage, which won a county title last season, fell to 3-1.
Working quickly and occasionally mixing in a changeup or a slider, Knapp struck out nine and didn’t issue a walk, though he did hit two batters. He needed just 80 pitches to polish the gem off.
“He was really efficient – just what we like to see,” Dragons coach Tom Tuttle said. “We preach working fast, changing speeds and pounding the strike zone. Today, he was exactly the pitcher we’re expecting him to be.”
Division was patient at the plate, making Bethpage righthander Joe Lynn throw a lot of high-stress pitches and force him from the game after 4 2/3 innings. The Dragons worked him for a pair of hits and six walks as they pushed across two runs in the second inning and two more in the fourth .
“We’re always trying to work the counts to our advantage,” said junior James Sill, who had the blast of the game.
Sill drove a ball deep into the right centerfield gap for a run-scoring triple in the sixth and scored when the throw from the outfield went for an error. He said of the 0-and-2 pitch “I got a pitch I could drive and didn’t miss it.”
Sill and sophomore Matt Bolton each had two RBIs for Division.
Knapp threw a first-pitch strike to Burns with one out in the fifth before his hard groundball to right side. Second baseman Christian Ramirez fielded it cleanly, but Burns was just too fast down the line and beat the throw for a hit.
“I was really relying on my fastball and it was pretty great today,” Knapp said. “I could throw it inside or outside and get the corners.”
“He’s one of only a few seniors – we’re very young,” Tuttle said of Knapp. “You can see potential, though. The guys have bought into their roles and there’s really good team chemistry. We’re playing well right now.”