JUST BECAUSE a guy never leaves the bench, that doesn't prevent him from making a large contribution. Even if it's a small or medium.
Time to shine a light on Prep Charter baseball, and the fact that Kyon Anderson is Pete Piccoli's new favorite teammate.
Piccoli is a 5-7, 145-pound junior righthander and Monday he posted six strong innings as the Huskies downed Philadelphia Academy Charter, 10-4, in a Public AA semifinal played under gray and occasionally rainy skies at 7th and Packer, in South Philly.
And a tip of the cap goes to Anderson!
Why? Well, in the first inning, after PAC took a lead three batters into the game on Jorge Martinez' double to right, Piccoli signaled toward the bench that his hat was unacceptable, and that he needed a different one.
Coach Shawn Magee asked the Huskies' subs for help and, finally, there was Anderson's lid, going from Magee to Piccoli.
Zip! Piccoli proceeded to strike out Mike Sullivan, the cleanup hitter.
Magee couldn't resist.
"Yo, I've got a hat in here two sizes smaller!" he yelled out to Piccoli. "You want that one?!"
Piccoli smiled, then retired Travis Zink on a comebacker. And he was dominant for the rest of his stint.
"We got these new hats about 3 weeks ago," Piccoli said. "Everyone was just grabbing them and I wound up with a large or extra large, whatever it was.
"The hat was covering my eyes. Bothering me a little. I asked for a different one before today. No one was givin' one up. Thanks to Kyon for doing it now. He's a good guy."
Piccoli allowed four hits, and those aside from Martinez' were singles. He walked one guy, plunked another and whiffed 13 before moving to second base for what turned out to be a messy seventh inning. PAC added three more runs, thanks mostly to three walks and two hit batsmen, mixed in with Chris Maguire's RBI single.
"I was trying to get them to let me stay in," Piccoli said. "I even told them, 'If one guy gets on, then come get me.' Didn't work.
"I guess I was around 100 pitches because they said I had 90 going into the sixth. They said I'd been having too many 3-2 counts. I told them it wouldn't happen again and it didn't."
PC forged a 1-1 tie in the third as Justin Bocelli, the No. 8 hitter, doubled deep to left, moved up on a balk and scored on Keegan McKoskey's sacrifice fly to right. Two more SFs to right (by Frank Suppa, then Sal Convento) were part of a five-run fourth against lefty Zink while Christian Coppola (double) and McKoskey (single) used hits to bag RBI.
A two-run single by pinch-hitter Chris "Chill" Ciliberto fueled a three-run sixth.
Piccoli said he knew he'd be starting this one a week ago. Assuming the Huskies triumphed in last Friday's quarterfinal vs. Delaware Valley Charter, of course.
"I did a bullpen [session] a week ago, then just stretched every day, trying to keep my arm relaxed," Piccoli said. "Then I pitched two innings against Del-Val and I was ready to go."
Maybe 5 minutes after the game, so was everyone. To a pizza shop. The fact that someone yelled "pepperoni" was a pretty good tipoff.
"Coach just started this thing: We get pizza if we strike out five times or less," Piccoli said. "We struck out six times against Del-Val, then just three times today. So, we're gettin' pizza! . . . Just don't know when."
Piccoli lives on 15th near Oregon and began his high school career at Ss. Neumann-Goretti. He opted not to play last season, then transferred to PC. His uncles, Chris and Al, were first-team All-Public honorees for Engineering and Science and his dad, George, played at Central.
"The Catholic League was more competitive," Piccoli said. "But I like my team right now."
Especially Kyon Anderson, the hat giver-upper.