By Danny Lopriore
Carson Frye overpowered opposing batters and thrilled a growing home crowd of spectators by throwing his first varsity baseball no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten Rye last Wednesday.
Frye struck out eight, walked one and overcame three errors to keep a narrow lead the Bobcats opened with a single run in the fourth inning. Byram Hills batters managed just two hits of their own against starting pitcher Declan Lavelle, who allowed the one earned run.
“It felt pretty good because I’ve never had a no-hitter before,” Frye said. “I have had some good games. I struck out 12 against Ardsley, but gave up a couple of hits. My last start against Eastchester wasn’t that good, but our big rival is Rye, so I wanted to come out and give my team the best I had.”
Frye felt he was on his game, but admitted that he sometimes gets down on himself if his defense is pressed.
“Being totally honest, I consider myself a power pitcher and get a lot of outs on strikeouts, so I can get frustrated if we don’t make plays,” he said. “But I have to trust my fielders and they will make the plays. “Rye is a good team, so getting a no-hitter against them is a big deal for me.”
The power right-hander used a good fastball and spotted his curve and off-speed pitches to overpower the Garnets early. Frye struck out the first three batters of the game and allowed no base runners until his infield made two errors in the fourth. Second baseman Kyle Smelser made the play of the game when he recovered from a botched ground ball to throw out a runner headed home, saving a run.
Left fielder Matt Nichols drove home first baseman Antonio Aversa with the game’s only run when he blasted a booming double to left-center field in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Bobcats’ first hit of the game. Right-fielder Brandon Fonte singled in the sixth for the other Bobcat hit.
“(Lavelle) had a pretty nice curveball,” Nichols said. “I was looking fastball and got it on the first pitch and just hit it right. I’ve been waiting to do that for a while, to get a good pitch and a big hit. (Aversa) did a good job getting the run home.”
Nichols said the Bobcats were looking forward to a good seed in the playoffs going into next week.
“We’re playing for seeding and to just win games,” he said. “The league is out of the question, so we want to be playing as well as we can into the playoffs. Beating Rye, their first loss, is a good win, especially with the no-hitter.”
Aversa knew Nichols’s blast might be the best chance to score a run and never looked back when he saw the ball soar over the center fielder’s head.
“As soon as he hit the ball and saw where it was going, I just kept running hard,” Aversa said. “I knew I had to score once I got past second base and turned third. My guy behind home plate signaled me to go down and I slid in and got right back up. I didn’t know it would be the only run, so it was a big one.”
The Bobcats added to their late-season momentum Thursday by beating Rye again, 5-4, in the second game of the home-and-home series. Aversa was the hitting star this time, going 3 for 4 with a two-run home run and three runs batted in. Will Bernstein earned the win on the mound with a save by Jackson Pinsky.
Byram Hills ran its record to 14-5 with the two wins, while Rye, the league champion and likely top seed in the upcoming Section 1, Class A playoffs, fell to 14-2.
Bobcats coach Scott Saunders gave a nod to Rye and his team for Wednesday’s well-played game.
“It was just a great high school baseball game to watch,” Saunders said. “Our pitching staff has been our strength all year. They keep us in games every time out, throw strikes and don’t walk a lot of guys and are tough to square up on. When we play defense behind them, they have a really good day. Frye was extra dominant today, but we’ve had great performances all year.”
Saunders credited Lavelle for his performance and looked forward to the upcoming playoff run.
“There’s a reason they were 13-0 going into the game,” he said. “Lavelle was a stud today and is one of the best pitchers in our league and the section. You just have to scrap for runs. For the postseason, we are just looking to peak at the right time and hopefully carry into next week. We can score runs if we stay focused.”