Sosnowski delivers gem, offense just delivers as Tigers top Bucs
By Jarrett Guthrie
TAMPA – Jesuit senior catcher Cole Russo was a bit hyperbolic after Saturday’s decisive 10-0, six-inning win over Berkeley Prep – a second-straight one-hitter spun by Tigers pitchers in as many night, saying his job is getting pretty easy.
After senior Dominic Castellano silenced Calvary Christian’s charge with 15 strikeouts on Friday after a first-inning homer, fellow senior Kris Sosnowski made his first-ever high school start against the Buccaneers in a meeting of 813Preps-ranked Nos. 1 and 3 teams and put up a masterpiece of his own.
“My job is easy back there, when I can just sit back and frame balls all game long,” Russo said. “We have a nickname for Kris, we call him Picasso, because all he does is paint corners.”
Jesuit (21-1) took little time supporting Sosnowski with Bradke Lohry drawing a leadoff walk, advancing to third on a BJ Graham single, and scoring what would prove the decider on a wild pitch.
The Tigers piled on from there with Jake Kulikowski going 3-for-4, with a double and two RBI, Wes Mendes collecting two hits and an RBI, and Russo doubling twice and tallying four RBI in the win.
For the University of Central Florida signed backstop, the previous two games, where the Tigers have outscored two Top 10 Class 3A teams by a combined score of 20-1, is just a sample of what he feels his team is poised to accomplish in the next few weeks.
“It shows how talented we are,” said Russo, who is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak. “As a team we are bringing the energy, camaraderie and bringing all that to a team with lots of talent. It’s a lot of fun to play with each and every one of these guys.”
On the mound, Sosnowski allowed just two base runners, hitting one and giving up a line-drive single to Anthony Castillo in the fourth, while striking out five, before Jamie Arnold worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning of relief, with an RBI sac fly from AJ Nessler ending the day early by mercy-rule in the home-sixth.
Sosnowski admitted Saturday’s spot-start was a little bit of a different emotion set than his normal outings.
“I was really excited for it (my first high school start),” Sosnowski said. “I thought I’d be nervous before the game started, but after the first strikeout, that was when the nerves really started to kick in.
“The next guy I went down 3-0 and I had to take a minute to get dialed back in.”
Working primarily in relief, the UCF signed Sosnowski (6-0) has earned the decision in his last six appearances, and has saves in 2-of-his-3 other outings.
The hardest hit baseball off the senior came from Berkeley Prep junior Gunnett Carlson, who smashed a ball to deep center in the second looking for an RBI double, but Mendes in centerfield was not in a generous mood, making a terrific running catch over his shoulder then firing the ball in for a relay, double-play at first base for the defensive play of the game – just edging a nice across the diamond play by Lohry at short, two clean snags at first base by Jesuit’s Tyler Corish, and a nice charge-and-catch of a line drive to right by Berkeley Prep’s Andrew DiMisa to save a run in the third.
Jesuit finishes off the regular season with three games next week at home against Blake Monday, at IMG on Tuesday, and back at home against Hialeah Campagnat on Friday; while Berkeley Prep hosts Steinbrenner and Hillsborough on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
Berkeley Prep 0 – six innings
BP 000|000|x – |0|1|1
J 201|511|x – |10|11|0
W – Sosnowski (6-0); L – Quinn (3-2).
2B – Russo 2, Kulikowski (J). Records – BP (18-4); J (21-1).