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Baseball: Haddonfield beats Haddon Twp.

By Phil Anastasia

Haddonfield pitcher Mark Ostbye said he felt a little "shaky" on the mound.

His coach said the senior right-hander didn't have his best stuff.

But don't tell Haddon Township that Ostbye was less than 100 percent in Thursday's matinee between the Colonial Conference rivals in the first round of the Camden County tournament at Campbell's Field.

Ostbye allowed just one hit -- a swinging bunt -- and struck out nine in five innings as Haddonfield beat Haddon Township 10-0 on a bright and brisk afternoon on the Camden waterfront.

"Every time he needed a strikeout, he got a strikeout," Haddon Township coach Doug Richardson said of Ostbye.

Senior first baseman Matt Cassell was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and senior left-fielder Mike McLaughlin was 3-for-4 with two runs for Haddonfield (5-1).

Junior third baseman Jake Thorndike added two hits and two runs as the Bulldogs rapped 13 hits and stole five bases in a game shortened to six innings by the 10-run rule.

"We haven't been hitting so it was nice put some hits together," Haddonfield coach Bob Bickel said.

The game was further evidence of Ostybe's emergence as one of South Jersey's top pitchers.

The University of Virginia recruit mixed a fastball that has touched 90 mph with a sharp curve. He struck out the side in the first and third and settled down after some early wildness to retire nine of the last 11 batters.

"I was a little bit shaky at first," Ostbye said. "I didn't have good command of my fastball. I think I was rushing things because it was cold and I was in a hurry.

"I finally got in a groove and just trusted my defense."

After a junior season slowed by injuries to his ankle and pitching arm, Ostbye put together a strong summer with his travel team, All-Star Baseball, and committed to Virginia in September.

The 6-foot-3 athlete has begun his senior season with three strong outings. In his first two games, he beat Sterling by a 3-1 score in a duel with Silver Knights' ace Donovan Casey and lost a 3-1 decision to Haddon Heights in a game in which he allowed just two hits.

Ostbye has emerged as a senior leader for a team with high expectations, Bickel said.

"He's a good one," Bickel said. "He pitched a lot as a sophomore, then had some injury problems last year. But he's made a lot of progress.

"The big thing with Mark is how much he's improved in the mental aspect of the game. It's nice to see."

Ostbye felt like he "learned how to pitch" last summer. He has carried that improved confidence and command into his senior year.

He said he's determined to make the most of his last season with the Bulldogs.

"This is our year," Ostbye said.

Haddon Twp. 000 000 -- 0 1 2

Haddonfield 202 042 -- 10 13 0

WP: Mark Ostbye. LP: Nick DeRitis.

2B: H-Mark Ostbye.

3B: H-Eric Ranalli.

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