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Published: April 13, 2009 10:40 pm   

HS BASEBALL: Klock Ks 12 in GI win

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

PENDLETON — It might only be April, but Joel Klock was in mid-season form Monday.

Grand Island’s junior ace tossed four innings of no-hit baseball, leading the Vikings to a 4-0 non-league win over Starpoint at Thomas J. Sarkovics Field. The southpaw got all 12 of his outs by strikeout.

“Joel was really good today,” GI coach Dean Santorio said. “He wasn’t very happy with his last outing (vs. St. Joe’s), so I think he felt like he had to come out, throw hard, get his off-speed stuff going and really take charge. Obviously, he did a really nice job of that.”

Klock said he felt like he was in total command of his entire repertoire of pitches, a welcome feeling for the returning all-Niagara Gazette performer.

“I felt like I could throw any pitch at any count in any bat today,” the three-year starter said. “Whether it was 3-2 or a fresh count, I had confidence in all my pitches.”

The same could be said for GI reliever Brian Brink, who allowed only one hit in his three innings of work. The sophomore right-hander struck out five.

“He got ahead early in the count, located his fastball well and his curveball was pretty good, too,” Klock said. “I think Brian is going to have a good year.”

GI loaded the bases in the second and fourth innings on Starpoint starter Andy Boyce, but only mustered one run in each frame. In the second, Nick Kellner drove in Joe Oliverio before Korey Hagen grounded into a double play to end the threat. In the fourth, Kellner scored on a safety squeeze play before Marv Pawlowski grounded into a double play to end the inning

“We really squandered those two opportunities. We have to find a way to put the ball into play properly there,” Santorio said. “Luckily, we made some nice plays in the field and our pitching was so good that it made up for that. In the future, though, we have to cash in on those chances.”

The Vikings (1-1) added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh on an error and a miscommunication on a potential steal. The Spartans (1-1) finally notched their first hit in the seventh when Boyce singled to right field. He was left stranded, though, after Brink struck out two straight batters to end the game.

“We’ve really focused on hitting in the preseason, so I’m surprised that we couldn’t put the ball in play, but you have to remember that we were looking at one of the premier pitchers in Western New York,” Racey said. “We played some really good defense up the middle that kept us right there, but just couldn’t get anything going. Tomorrow’s another day, though, and hopefully we’ll be better.”