Ben Church and Brandon Lashley got the high school baseball season off to an outstanding start for their respective teams.
Church, of Wildwood Catholic, and Lashley, of Ocean City, each tossed five-inning no-hitters in their teams’ season openers on Monday.
Church allowed just one baserunner, coming on a fourth-inning walk, and struck out 12 batters to pace the Crusaders to a 12-0 win over Atlantic City.
“It was a good feeling to open up with a win, especially to get off to a good start as a team,” said Church, a junior righthander. Pitching a no-hitter “kind of ran through my mind the last few outs but before that I wasn’t really focused on it.”
Giacomo Antonicello went 3 for 3 with a walk and three runs scored, Sean Dougherty added three hits and two runs scored and Justin Klemick had two hits and three RBI for the Crusaders.
“This gives us an immense boost to start the season,” said Wildwood Catholic coach Jim Norris. “We beat a team that’s a Group IV school. I think it proves to our kids that we can beat anybody on our schedule if we play the game the correct way.”
Lashley, already established as one of South Jersey’s top pitchers, struck out 10 in his no-hitter, which came in a 10-0 win over Oakcrest. Lashley also ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule with a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was one of his three hits in the game. A.J. Campbell hit a two-run double and Shane Ferry added two hits and an RBI for the Raiders.
— Brian Cunniff