By TOM WILLIAMS
It was Ocean City-Mainland so it had to be good.
The Raiders edged the Mustangs, 1-0, this afternoon in an important Cape-Atlantic League National Conference baseball game that started in a light rain and finished with a flair.
OCHS senior Dan Nunan and junior Brandon Lashley combined to shut out Mainland on six hits while striking out 14. Nunan fanned 11 in five innings and was removed when his pitch count reached 95.
Lashley moved in from shortstop to fan two in the sixth inning. A one-out single in the seventh by Mainland junior centerfielder Devon Sharkey put the tying run on base. Then Sharkey stole second, moving that tying run a step closer. But Lashley, with help from senior second baseman Parker Bristol, anticipated an attempted steal of third. When Bristol shouted out a warning, he swung his leg around from the stretch position, stepped off and threw to third to catch Sharkey stealing for the out that ended the game.
See below for video of the final play – plus video interviews with Nunan, Lashley and Coach Andrew Bristol.
The win was the fifth straight for Ocean City (7-1) and left the Raiders alone atop the CAL National. In four games against CAL teams, OCHS pitching has not allowed a run.
Of course, they would still be playing in Linwood, despite the pitching, if Ocean City did not score. The Raiders did that in the third inning when senior Dom Monteleone delivered a one-out single and was bunted to second by senior Issac Robertson. After Nunan was walked, junior A.J. Campbell, the third baseman who would make the tag for the game’s final out, drilled a ball into left field that scored Monteleone with the only run OCHS would need. It was Campbell’s fifth RBI of the season.
Both teams threatened.
The Raiders got singles from Robertson and Nunan in the first but didn’t score when Mainland senior Nick Atohi struck out the side. They also got two aboard in the fourth without scoring, including a single by sophomore Jaden Millstein.
Sharkey and freshman Mark Elliot got two hits each for Mainland which left nine on base.
Nunan improved to 3-0 with the win. He has pitched 17 innings with a 0.41 earned run average and struck out 34 batters. Lashley (2-0) has struck out 21 in 15 innings and has not allowed a run.
Mainland (5-2) got a strong effort from Atohi. He limited the Raiders to six hits and struck out nine.
Andrew Bristol brings his OCHS team home tomorrow against Cedar Creek for the first of three straight games at 5th & Bay. Oakcrest comes to town on Tuesday and St. Augustine – the No. 1 ranked team in New Jersey – will visit on Wednesday.
The Mustangs, whose only previous loss was 12-2 to St. Augustine, go to Middle Township tomorrow.