Broadneck mows down  No. 11 North County behind fast-working Gatton

by Pat O’Malley

Being a winning pitcher in high school baseball usually requires throwing strikes, good location so as not to throw that many pitches and not wasting time and boring your defense while out on the bump. In other words, bear down and keep the motor running to get results from your mates behind you.

Broadneck High’s 6-foot-7, 200-pound senior right-hander Nick Gatton does all of that and more, and it just might be the reason he is off to a 3-0 and has yet to give up a run. Monday at home in Cape St. Claire, Gatton posted his third shutout of the spring  as the host and 12th ranked Bruins posted a 10-0 victory over No. 11 North County in five innings.

“Nick has got good command and he attacks the strike zone,” said Bruins’ third-year coach Matt Skrenchuk. “Nick gave us another outstanding performance.”

Gatton’s two other shutouts were by 3-0 over No. 15 Severna Park and 10-0 over Southern in five innings.

It was a matchup of two of the top Class 4A schools and contenders for the Anne Arundel County championship in 2019 along with No. 3 ranked, 3A power  Chesapeake-Anne Arundel and five other teams – for a total of 8 of the 12 teams in the league – are very much alive.

Gatton threw strikes and his Bruin mates kept hitting strikes to record the 10-run shortened game in the win column.

Gatton, who was one of the key members of the Bruins’ 4A state basketball finalist squad this past winter season, threw only  43 pitches in the four innings he worked, yielded only two hits (second inning), struck out two and did not walk a batter. Gatton had all four of his pitches – cut fast ball, curve, slider and changeup – working and retired the last 9 batters he faced in succession.

My fast ball has a natural cut to it and it’s my go-to pitch,” said Gatton, who will pitch at Stevenson University next spring. This is his fourth varsity baseball season, but he didn’t start pitching until last season and his future at the next level appears bright because of his size and poise, not to mention his cutter.

I try to throw as many pitches less that I can to get the job done.”

Gatton would have gone at least one more inning had it not been for approximately a 45-minute stoppage with two outs in the bottom of the fourth and Broadneck leading, 9-zip.

Thunder and lightning showed up in the fourth frame and stopped play and during the delay some light rain fell. When play resumed, the Bruins (7-1 overall, 6-1 Anne Arundel) needed one run and then three outs without the Knights (5-2, 5-2 Anne Arundel) scoring a run to end it in five. Broadneck scored the 10th run on Gatton’s 2-out single, his second hit of the game and Skrenchuk decided to send Reilly Joyce out to pitch the fifth rather than Gatton whose wait was too long.

When the Knights’ Ethan Kennedy led off the top of the fifth with a double to left off Joyce and the weather still threatening, many fans and parents thought there might be another inning. Joyce got a fly out and then gave up a single to center to Austin Witcher with Kennedy stopping at third. A strikeout followed and it ended on a fielder’s choice for the final out.

Broadneck built its lead by swinging at some pretty good strikes from North County’s talented sophomore lefty Carson Lowman, who also bats cleanup for the Knights. Back-to-back extra-base knocks by Ryan Smolen with a double and Rico Soto with a triple leading off the bottom of the first produced the first run and Dylan Tenney’s fielders choice made it 2-0.

The Bruins made it 5-0 in the second inning on RBI knocks by Brad Zoellner and No. 9 hitter Nick Toskov, who went 2-for-2 on the day. A five-run lightning interrupted fifth was highlighted by back-to-back two-run doubles by Matt Isaac and Ben Schultz. Only one batter in the Broadneck starting lineup did not have a hit as the Bruins finished with 12 hits.

“We’re playing good baseball right now, good defense and we’re swinging the bats,” said Skrenchuk. “Our hitters are working really hard and they take a lot of pride in their approach. Anne Arundel County has really good baseball from top to bottom.”

Pictured above: Broadneck’s Nick Gatton pitched four innings of shutout ball in leading Broadneck to a 10-0 win over North County.

No. 12 BROADNECK 10, No. 11 NORTH COUNTY 0 (5 innings)

North County  000 00     0   4   0

Broadneck  230 5x     10 12  0

Carson Lowman, Brady Andrzejewski (4) and Josh Nevins; Nick Gatton, Reilly Joyce (5) and Jackson Halla.

2B: Broadneck – Ryan Smolen, Matt Isaac  and Ben Schultz; North County – Ethan Kennedy.

3B: Broadneck – Rico Soto