Monday, April 17, 2017

Bussone Pitches St. John's Prep Past Lincoln-Sudbury

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

SUDBURY - The calendar may have read April 17th, but Monday’s pitchers duel between Casey Bussone and Ryan Cusick had the contents of a June showdown.

In the end, Bussone came away with the victory as, behind a complete game shutout from the senior right-hander, St. John’s Prep (5-1) pulled out a 5-0 win over Lincoln-Sudbury (2-1) on a windy Monday afternoon at Lincoln-Sudbury.

Bussone did a terrific job of keeping his pitch count down throughout the contest, locating his fastball for a first-pitch strike, before inducing weak contact via his off speed repertoire.

In total Bussone threw 90 pitches, 67 of which were strikes.

St. John’s Prep coach Dan Letarte said Bussone’s ability to go deep into games consistently has been impressive.

“(Casey) was just pounding the strike zone all day long and that is what he has been doing,” said Letarte. “He has great command that helps keep his pitch count down and lets him go deep into games.”

Due to a high pitch count (112), Cusick was unable to go the distance, but the Lincoln-Sudbury ace shined for the time that he was on the mound.

The Wake Forest commit struck out 14 batters over six innings of work while surrendering just one unearned run on five hits.

Cusick was on fire from his opening pitch, featuring a fastball that hovered in the low 90s for most of the afternoon.

Despite facing a tall task in St. John’s Prep’s lineup, Cusick began the game by striking out the side on just 12 pitches, two of the three coming from the high heat.

Cusick went on to strike out seven of the first nine batters he faced, but in the top of the third the Prep was able to scratch out a run.

Joe Muzio singled, stole second, and advanced to third on an error by the third baseman.

With a 2-2 count on Mike Yarin, Cusick bounced a curveball that hit in front of the plate and rolled to the backstop, allowing Muzio to cross the plate and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Lincoln-Sudbury’s best opportunity to even the score came in the bottom of the fourth when Jack McKeon reached on an error and Jack Carlson bunted for a base hit to give the Warriors two on with one out.

Bussone, however, stuck with his bread and butter and relied on his well-located fastball to get out of trouble inducing a fly ball to write and striking out Michael Zhang to keep the Eagles up 1-0.

“I was just trying to focus on getting ahead of each hitter,” said Bussone of his effort. “Throwing my curveball for a strike to complement the first pitch fastball was very important. I just do my best to outsmart the hitter by mixing up my pitches.”

In each of the top of the fifth and top of the sixth innings St. John’s Prep seemed poised to give Bussone a bit of breathing room on the mound.

Muzio led off the top of the fifth with a triple into the right center field gap, but Cusick was able to strike out a pair and get a fly ball to right field to retire the side.

Similarly in the top half of the sixth, Dan Frey stood at third with less than two outs for the Prep, but once again Cusick wiggled out of trouble. The right-hander reared back for his final two batters of the day, getting Andrew Selima and Muzio chasing on up and away fastballs to finish his outing.

Due to the high pitch count, Cusick was forced to leave the game after six innings, and in the top of the seventh the Prep pounced for four runs to grab some much needed insurance.

Alex Lane drew a leadoff walk and Francouer advanced him over to third with a double in the right center field gap.

The Eagles doubled their lead moments later on a passed ball and after Tyler MacGregor worked a walk, Andrew Selima dealt the devastating blow with a two run left center field that put St. John’s Prep up 4-0.

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