The nickname given to him by his mother has been with him since he was 2 years old. It’s all he has ever answered to at home and in school and the only name he uses, except on official documents — like college applications.
So the College of Charleston, a prominent Division I baseball program, is one of the few places that knows its future pitcher, Patch Dooley, as Patrick. The nickname was an apt description of Dooley’s performance Tuesday for Half Hollow Hills East, as he fought through wind-induced wildness to piece together a gem in a 7-4 win over host Smithtown West in a Suffolk III game.
Dooley took a no-hitter into at least the fifth inning for the fourth time this season, but was constantly pitching out of trouble because he issued five walks and hit a batter. He was over 100 pitches when he surrendered a one-out single to Christian Amoruso in the sixth and left with two outs after another single.
Dooley improved to 6-0 as the Thunderbirds scored four unearned runs in the sixth. Joe Litchhult was 3-for-3 with two RBI doubles for Hills East (13-3).
Nick Trabacchi was the hard-luck loser for Smithtown West (8-5), which scored all four runs in the seventh when Dooley was out of the game. Trabacchi allowed only three hits and five of the six runs off him were unearned thanks to five infield errors.
Amoruso, robbed of an extra-base hit on a running, over-the-shoulder one-hand catch by centerfield Matt Hogan in the third, drilled a two-run homer in the seventh.
Amoruso may have solved Dooley, but other than a strong, steady wind, nothing else bothered the righthander, who ran while his team batted — not to stay warm but to stay in a zone. “I try not to think about things. That’s why I run between innings,” said Dooley, who struck out seven. “I didn’t know I had a no-hitter going. I just knew I had to work from the stretch a lot.”
He has pitched one no-hitter this season, and lost three late. This is the first time he didn’t have good control, which he attributed to the wind. “It really affected my curveball,” Dooley said. “But I had to keep throwing it so they wouldn’t sit on my fastball.”
Hills East coach Tim Belz said the wind, which repeatedly blew dirt into the eyes of the batter, catcher and umpire resulting in numerous timeouts, also effected Dooley’s heater. “It made his fastball move more than he wanted it to,” Belz said. “Those were tough conditions, with 20- or 30 mile-per-hour winds. But Patch is very tough-minded and he’s been getting out of jams all year.”
Dooley is very good at patching it together when he needs to.