HANCOCK - Many pitchers are so weak offensively that any production with the bat earns one the clich of "helping his own cause."
Pat's Foods starter Lee Naugle was equally capable with the bat and the arm Friday, leading his team to a closer-than-it-looked 11-3 Twilight League win over Mosquito Inn-Toivola.
Naugle drove in his team's first three runs and carried a no-hitter into the sixth, a key solid outing given his team was playing a rare three-game week.
Pat’s Foods pitcher Lee Naugle begins his home run trot as the home plate umpire confirms his solo shot to lead off the fifth inning of Friday’s Twilight League game against Mosquito Inn-Toivola at Hancock Driving Park. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
"I was confident with my fastball. I felt like I could overpower," Naugle said.
He struck out the side in the first two innings and finished with 14 K's overall, including at least one in all seven frames, against just one seventh-inning walk.
On the flip side, Pat's took advantage of a rough opening for Toivola pitcher Will Williams. Thanks to a single, an error and a hit by pitch, Naugle found the bases loaded with none out for his first at-bat and singled into centerfield, scoring Jonny Markham and C.J. Lepisto for an early lead. Williams reloaded the bases with a walk to Alex Hill, but escaped by striking out Devin Kero and Marco Guidotti and stabbing a grounder off the bat of Darren Bausano.
Toivola000 004 0 - 4 4 2
Pat's200 027 X - 11 11 4
WP - Lee Naugle, CG, 1 ER, 4 H, 14 K, 1 BB
LP - Will Williams, 5 IP, 3 ER, 9 H, 4 K, 1 BB
Pat's - Naugle 3-for-3, HR, 3 RBIs; Johnny Markham 2-for-4, 2 RBIs
Toivola - Robert Brooks 1-4, HR
Neither side generated much until the fifth, when Naugle went deep on the first offering of the inning.
He said he'd been seeing first pitches over the middle in previous at-bats and decided to go for one.
"It was just the perfect pitch, right down the middle," he said.
Hill and Kero followed with infield hits and Bausano drove Hill in with a groundout.
With a 4-0 lead and two out in the fifth, Pat's appeared to be rolling to a tidy victory.
It was not to be, as Robert Brooks ruined both the no-hitter and the shutout with a homer to left field. Williams and Dan Wood followed with singles, Joe Giddings' grounder leaked through the infield for a run and Wood scored on a wild pitch to make it a one-run game.
However, the drama didn't last long, as Giddings struggled to find the plate in relief. Six walks, a sacrifice fly and a single made it 9-3 and Markham drove in two more for the final margin.
Pat's (2-1) finished its busy week with three lopsided games: two wins (including a 10-5 decision over BlueSky Health Tuesday) and a loss. Toivola falls to 1-2.
Naugle finished 3-for-3 at the place with three RBIs. Johnny Markham and Ross Kinnunen added two hits apiece.
The teams will meet again Tuesday in Toivola.