By Mike Radomski
(HAMDEN, Conn.) – On Sinatra Sunday, it was a man by the name of Kent Worthington (Hagerstown,MD) who would be viewed as the Chairman of the Board on this day.
At 3:46 in the afternoon, Kent Worthington, a senior right-handed pitcher for the Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers, threw his final pitch of the day and 116th overall. With it, Quinnipiac third baseman Joe Poletzky (Riverside, CT) grounded out to second base and secured Kent Worthington a place in baseball history with the first no-hitter of his collegiate career.
“I’ve been pitching my whole life and I’ve never thrown anywhere near a no hitter,” said Kent Worthington after the game. “I’ve never [even] gone this deep into a game in my whole life.”
Worthington struck out nine Bobcat hitters and occasionally lost some control with five walks, only to regain his no-hit form.
“Kent just battled and he threw four pitches for strikes today,” said Mountaineers Coach Scott Thompson. “He did a great job spotting his pitches, and keeping them off balance.”
The pitcher had a total of five called strikeouts and was also able to pick up three double plays. But later in the game, the defense started to become a storyline alongside Worthington for a different reason. Mount Saint Mary’s committed three errors in the game and two in the crucial 8th inning of a no-hit bid.
Leading off the inning, Bobcat first baseman Gabe Guerino (Milford, CT) hit a shallow fly ball to center field. Defensive replacement Buddy Fields (Manassas, VA) came racing in, set himself for the catch and let the ball pop into and out of his glove. Guerino reached on the fielding error and then was retired on a double play.
Then, outfielder Ray Buckley (Bethel, CT) hit a fly ball to right field that sent Tom Healy (Harrisburg, PA) running towards the fence. The rightfielder went up Rizzo’s Ridge, stopped, turned around and also dropped the ball. Just like earlier, the fielder was charged with an error, and Worthington induced Mike Bartlett (Milford, CT) to fly out and end the inning. But Worthington’s close calls weren’t done here.
In the ninth inning, second baseman Alex Soucy (Manchester, CT) led off with a 4-pitch walk, but the righty struck out Bobcat outfielder Kevin O’Connell (Glastonbury, CT) for the first out of the inning.
Reliever Karl Lamont (Williamsburg, IA) then started to warm up in the bullpen just in case Worthington allowed a hit, which he nearly did to the next batter. On a 1-0 pitch, outfielder Brian Monack (Branford, CT) laced a liner down the left field line that curved just foul. Monack then tapped a groundball off the plate and back towards Worthington. The pitcher bobbled it, recovered, and quickly threw to first base to just to beat the runner.
Joe Poletsky then proved to be the final batter, as he grounded out to Michael Foster (Easton, MD) at second base to end the game and secure Kent Worthington’s place among the elite. His fellow teammates and coaches rushed the field in pure jubilation to meet Worthington and celebrate his accomplishment.
“I was sore all week and had to take extra care today,” said Worthington just after the no-hitter. “It never really occurred to me. I just wanted to make sure to make all my pitches throughout the game.”
Even when the pitcher admitted to getting tired near the end, he knew a no-hitter was possible.
“I knew I was starting to run out of gas and knew I was starting to get a little slow to the plate,” said an honest Kent Worthington. “I knew I had to keep my pitches down if I wanted to make it through. I just tried to keep it out of my mind the best I could do.”
Worthington even mentioned that the errors didn’t faze him down the stretch.
The last two errors were all routine pop-ups,” said the pitcher. “I was hitting my spots really well and knew that the guys behind me wouldn’t let me down. We have a great defense and those errors are like one in a million.”
Something that often gets lost or forgotten in a once in a million moment like this, is the play of the offense, which for Mt. St. Mary’s also had quite a performance.
Sam Nott (Harrisburg, PA) started the scoring for the Mountaineers against Quinnipiac starter Todd DeFrancesco (North Haven, CT) with a two run home run in the first inning. It was the first of three home runs on the day for Mt. St. Mary’s.
The Mountaineers continued in the second inning when the team batted around and added another five runs to their total.
Zach Helman (Waynesboro, PA), Tommy Flynn (Reston, VA), and Michael Foster all had RBI singles as Quinnipiac now trailed 7-0.
“Todd came out a little shaky in the beginning,” said Quinnipiac assistant coach Marc Stonaha. “But his last few innings he did settle down. He battled and gave us everything he had.”
DeFrancesco pitched into the fifth inning but did allow a 3-run home run to Zach Helman that ended his day. The senior threw 4 1/3 innings while allowing 10 runs.
Relievers Kevin Castodio (Pawcatuck, CT) and Andrew Rinaldi (East Rockaway, NY) pitched the remainder of the game for Quinnipiac.
Mount Saint Mary’s improves to 7-12 on the season and wins three of the four games this weekend to start Northeast Conference play. All but one Mountaineer starter picked up a hit and seven finished with one RBI or more.
Third baseman Zach Helman finished 3 for 4 with a home run, three runs and 4 RBIs. First baseman Josh Winter (Timonium, MD) also had a strong day, going 3 for 6 and adding three more RBIs.
Quinnipiac will look to improve on the team’s 1-15 record on Wednesday when the Bobcats are back in action to face their cross-town rivals, the Yale Bulldogs. First pitch is scheduled for three o’clock at the Quinnipiac Bobcats baseball field, and the game can be heard live on the WQAQ Sports stream.