Joe Lolio broke one of baseball's biggest unwritten rules Tuesday afternoon when he mentioned on the bench that Neumann-Goretti teammate Pat Doudican was closing in on a no-hitter against Bonner-Prendergast.
It proved the ultimate jinx. Doudican, with one out in the top of the sixth inning, promptly allowed an otherwise meaningless bloop single to shallow left field.
"That's OK," Doudican said, letting Lolio off the hook. "That's baseball for you. It's a game of inches. The ball landed just fair."
With Doudican yielding only that hit and racking up a career-high 14 strikeouts, the host Saints romped past the Friars, 10-0, in six innings in a Catholic League Blue Division matchup at 26th and Moore Streets.
A steady drizzle and brisk temperature did little to slow the 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior lefthander.
"You just have to focus on the task at hand," Doudican said. "You have to work through whatever the weather gives you. You don't have any control over that."
Doudican, who lives near 10th and Ritner, mixed a fastball that earlier this month was clocked at 91 m.p.h., slider, and change-up. He fired 101 pitches, with 59 for strikes, and struck out the side in the second, third, and fifth innings.
"My control was a little off in my last start, so I was anxious to do better," the 16-year-old said. "I wanted to get ahead in the count."
Neumann-Goretti, which benefited from 16 walks, improved to 11-3 overall and 9-2 in the Blue Division. B-P slipped to 9-6 and 8-3.
Major-league cross-checkers on hand at Saints games to watch hard-hitting first baseman Josh Ockimey, an Indiana recruit and possible selection in June's amateur draft, also have noticed Doudican.
"He's got a hard-moving fastball, keeps hitters guessing," said Ockimey, who ignited a two-run third with a double down the first-base line. "You think you're getting a first-pitch fastball, and it doesn't happen."
Doudican, who is 5-0 and has struck out 58 in 292/3 innings, has heard from a number of Division I schools, including Maryland, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.
Neumann-Goretti's pitching staff is headed by Doudican and also includes senior lefty Charlie Jerla, a Marist recruit who delivered an RBI triple vs. the Friars, and sophomore righthander Ethan Pritchett.
In the second inning for the Saints, who posted seven hits, catcher Tommy Nardini and shortstop Justin Curtin ripped RBI singles.
Bonner-Prendergast 000 000 0 - 0 1 3
Neumann-Goretti 102 511 x - 10 7 0
WP: Pat Doudican. LP: Nick Bralczyk. 2B: NG-Josh Ockimey. 3B: NG-Charlie Jerla.