BONNER-Prendergast junior Nick Bralczyk sure isn't the new kid anymore.
Truth be told, the 6-4, 195-pound transfer from Upper Darby hasn't felt like a newbie since the Friars' mid-March trip to Florida.
However, when the righthander started in yesterday's Catholic League Blue battle of unbeatens at Archbishop Carroll, he was unproven.
And when he threw a wild pitch that allowed Carroll to tie the game at 1-all in the fifth inning, the pressure was on.
"As a pitcher, I'm thinking it's kind of my fault," Bralczyk said. "I didn't really get too worried. I knew my team would battle back and get a few runs."
Carroll certainly helped. With the game still tied in the seventh, the Patriots committed three consecutive errors and also walked three batters, which led three runs and a 4-1 Friars victory.
For his part, Bralczyk escaped a few jams, struck out five and only allowed two hits on 95 pitches for B-P (5-0 in CL play).
"Had a little bit of pressure on me," he said. "In the beginning of the game, just have to tell yourself it's no big deal, just go out there and play your game. And I'm proud of myself that I was able to do that in a big game like this and perform for my teammates."
The wind was fierce yesterday in Radnor, so when the Patriots' Joe DiWilliams splashed head-first at home plate, a large plume of dust drifted toward spectators seated on the steep, nearly 45-degree hill behind home plate.
"He's so mean!" a Carroll student spectator joked, shielding his face from the storm.
It was Bralczyk's wild pitch that gave DiWilliams passage. But Bralczyk steadied quickly.
"When I faced adversity, I was able to battle through it," Bralczyk said. "The tough innings are going to happen in baseball, but you just have to tell yourself to cool it, step off the mound and continue to throw."
Offensively, B-P junior Brendan Phillips (2-for-4) was the game's only multihit player. Sophomore Anthony Martinelli spelled Bralczyk in the sixth and earned the win while junior Richie Tecco closed the seventh.
Matt Lafferty and DiWilliams had the only hits for Carroll (4-1 CL play). Senior Bryan Chesky started and struck out seven and walked one in six innings. The Patriots started the seventh with an error and followed up with an errant throw on an attempted sacrifice bunt. Another throwing error allowed two runs to score and the final run was plated via a walk.
As for Bralczyk, who lives in Drexel Hill, he could have been the new guy at Carroll, where his older brother Alex played lacrosse. He said his parents initially steered him in that direction, but he chose to follow friends to Upper Darby and then again to B-P.
He doesn't have a nickname just yet, but at least he's not the new guy anymore - and he's no longer unproven.
"As soon as he got here, he fit right in," said coach Joe DeBarberie. "He's one of the hardest-working kids in the program and I think the other guys respect him for that."
"I feel like I've earned my spot now and today's win definitely showed that," Bralczyk said. "But I still have a lot of things to work on."