PLAISTOW — Baseball stoppers aren’t born. In fact, the title can only be earned on the mound under the most demanding of circumstances.
Yesterday, Timberlane Regional junior Jake Damphousse exhibited why he’s already a card-carrrying member of that special pitching fraternity, silencing Pinkerton Academy and halting the Owls’ season-opening skid at 0-2 with a 3-0 victory here over the Astros,
“Starting 0-3 would have been devastating to us mentally, and I knew I had to be ready,” said Damphousse, who no-hit the Astros over the first five innings on the way to his first win of the year. “We definitely needed this.”
Damphousse, who drew a no-decision in allowing two earned runs over five innings in the season opener with Spaulding, finished with a three-hit complete-game yesterday, allowing the Astros three hits and a walk while fanning seven.
And simply put, he had to be that good the way that Astros southpaw Andrew Herlihy had been stonewalling the Timberlane lineup.
Herlihy hiccuped once, in the Owls sixth, and even then none of the runs were earned. With one out, Matt Grant singled and Justin Pasters’ bullet to third was thrown into right field. Immediately, Timberlane coach Jamie Fish called for the suicide squeeze and Pat Mahoney laid down a beauty up the first base line, plating Grant and beating out the play at first.
Fish then called for the unorthodox one-out sac bunt to push the runners up to second and third and, with two outs, freshman catcher Tyler Cameron made the skipper look like a genius, lashing a two-run double for some insurance down the line in left.
“We haven’t been swinging the bats well early, and that was just a huge hit by the freshman,” said Fish.
From there, a pumped-up Damphousse slammed things tight with a scoreless seventh and an exclamation point.