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Big Starts Lifts Archbishop McCarthy Past Palmetto Ridge

Mark Diaz slides home safely as part of a five-run first inning for all the runs the Mavericks needed.

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When Archbishop McCarthy manager Aaron Vorachek went to the bullpen late in the fifth inning for reliever Daniel Diaz, there was no intention of that being the last call to the pen on the night. But the way the junior left-hander pitched worked to change his manager’s mind. Diaz held off a late rally bid to keep his club in the lead, and Archbishop McCarthy held on for a 6-3 victory over Palmetto Ridge on Wednesday night.

Diaz came on with two outs and runners on the corners with his club up by a pair of runs. The southpaw got a line out deep to right field to end that threat, and went on to put up two more scoreless frames to earn the save. He allowed a hit and a walk and struck out two.

“Danny Diaz came in and he pretty much put an end to everything that they had going,” Coach Voracheck said. “At that point he just shut it down and that was a big positive. He’s been good for us really the entire year. The plan was to start him on Saturday, so he was going to be limited. But when he was cruising we had a chance to win this game and we’ll figure out Saturday when we get there. When you’ve got the chance to put somebody away, you put them away and don’t play for tomorrow.”

Diaz preserved the win for starter Daniel Paret, who picked up the victory with three solid innings. The left-hander allowed two earned runs on three hits and recorded four strikeouts.

Junior Eric Lewis was the first arm out of the bullpen, and the right-hander continued to be an asset to his club however they need him. Lewis recorded five valuable outs while allowing an unearned run on a hit and a walk. With runners on the corners and a left-handed hitter coming to the plate, the original plan had been to get at least one key out from Diaz.

Daniel Paret allowed two earned runs on three hits and had four strikeouts to earn the win.

“Eric Lewis has had a couple of starts and has been the first guy out of the pen for us. He did a nice job too, but I went with the match up of left-on-left then with Diaz coming in,” Coach Vorachek said.

Coach Vorachek’s offensive approach is a fast-paced and aggressive style, and the Mavericks (4-3) managed exactly that right out of the chutes for all the runs they ultimately needed. McCarthy batted around the order to put five runs on the board, as the first five batters all reached base safely.

Mark Diaz had a nice day offensively by reaching base all four plate appearances, and he got it going right away with a lead-off walk in the first. Alejandro Macario was next with a single up the middle and Paret delivered with runners in motion by drilling an RBI single past the shortstop. Daniel Matos and Buzz Vorachek both walked to load the bases and Adrian Rojas followed with an RBI ground out.

Chris Rutherford then came through with a big hit that drove in the deciding runs. The Mavs catcher jumped on a 1-1 offering and sent a flare into shallow left field in front of the defense, driving in two runs.

“I noticed he was throwing a lot of breaking balls, so I was just trying to see it out of his hands, recognize it early and try to get in the runner from third. I guess it really ended up working out the way that it worked out,” Rutherford said. “We always try to be aggressive at the plate and get some runs quick, and it seemed to work out. He walked a couple guys and we got a few good hits and runs just came in quick.”

Falling behind early on is never good for any team, and it was the scenario the Bears were looking to avoid right now with an offense that has been inconsistent of late. Yet the result of that was the offense put together some quality at bats to get the team back in the game and prove they are never out of the fight.

“Their first guy was real good on the mound, but our approach was better than it has been,” Mason said. “I think we’re still swinging and missing a lot. I don’t know if we are not reducing when we need to reduce and try and put the ball in play, but we don’t have a lot of big guys and we’re not banging the ball out of the park so we have got to make better contact and use our legs a little bit. I probably could have done a better job of calling some bunts and trying to get the ball on the ground and use their legs, but I didn’t do that.”

Mavericks outfielder Mark Diaz had a single, two walks and two runs and also reached base on an error.

Palmetto Ridge (4-3) got on the scoreboard to make a game of it with a pair of runs in the third. Cristian Torres lined a two-out single to center and starting pitcher Derek Rascher followed with a base knock of his own, before giving way to courtesy-runner Alejandro Cordoves. Adrian Soler then delivered with a single to center field that drove in both base runners to make it a 5-2 ball game.

The Bears got it going again in the fifth. Noah White bounced a single past the diving shortstop but was then erased at second on a fielder’s choice from Torres. Rascher then reached on an infield error that put runners on the corners, and Soler delivered again by lifting a shot to center field for a sac-fly RBI.

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