O’Hara defeats Roman, 4-0

John Knebels
Sports Columnist

As pitching performances go, this one was memorable.

Very memorable.

Against a formidable lineup at a venue with a deserved reputation for offensive shenanigans that wreak havoc on a pitcher’s earned-run average, Cardinal O’Hara senior Jeff O’Reilly led the visiting Lions to a 4-0 victory over Roman Catholic at Boyce Field.

Later, O’Reilly waxed philosophical when describing how he had performed such an anomaly.

“Everything worked out,” O’Reilly said. “I did my best to stay in control and keep the ball down.”

Akin to modern Major League haunts such as Philadelphia’s Citizen’s Bank Park or New York’s Yankee Stadium, anytime a pitcher gets his pitch up in the zone at Boyce Field, the ball has a tendency to end up in the seats.

The only ball that did such a thing – minus the seats – was when O’Reilly led off the fifth inning with a massive shot that landed over the imposing centerfield fence.

O’Reilly also coaxed a bases-loaded walk in the third inning that gave O’Hara a 1-0 lead, which was doubled after an RBI single by junior catcher Devin McCann.

In the fourth inning, a double by senior Nick DiMarco increased O’Hara’s lead to 3-0. An inning later came O’Reilly’s massive swat.

By that time, teammates and fans were becoming a tad restless because of what was ensuing – Roman Catholic was still without a hit.

“I knew what was happening, but I didn’t want to change anything,” O’Reilly said. “We still had to get (six) outs.”

Sure enough, Roman senior Matt Stoffere, who later pitched two excellent innings in relief, ended O’Reilly’s bid for history by smashing a triple to right field to lead off the sixth.

With the Cahillites showing life, O’Reilly did his best pitching of the game, retiring the next three batters – two of them on harmless grounders back to the mound – without allowing Stoffere to cross the plate.

“If they had scored it wouldn’t have been a big deal,” O’Reilly said. “It would have been disappointing not to get a shutout, but it’s all about the win.”

O’Reilly allowed only one more hit before the complete game – and a very rare shutout at Boyce Field – was official.

“I didn’t have many strikeouts (five), so we had to make a lot of plays on defense,” said O’Reilly, who 24 hours earlier had picked up a victory in relief when O’Hara edged the Cahillites, 6-5, on junior Francisco Cuesta’s two-out double in the bottom of the seventh inning that scored junior Steve Trainor (three hits) and made a winner out of junior Mike Schneider (six innings pitching and a home run). “We did a nice job all the way around.”

Especially Jeff O’Reilly.

John Knebels can be reached at jknebs@aol.com.