STOUGHTON, Mass. – North Attleboro senior Nick Sinacola was at his best on Monday afternoon, striking out 10 batters and firing his second career no-hitter in a 12-0 win over Stoughton.
Sinacola tossed a no-no last year against Canton in a team in which North’s offense had to provide a late run to earn the win.
“I felt good today. I have a great catcher and I have a great defense behind me so that helps with my confidence,” Sinacola said. “All of my pitches were working today and I have so much trust in my defense. And then getting all of that offense helps too. I felt comfortable out there.”
There was no shortage of offense from the Rocketeers this time around, plating runs in every inning but the sixth.
“He was super efficient,” said first-year North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart. “That’s one of the big things he’s been working on and over the past few games, he’s really shown that. He’s coming after the batters, trusting his stuff and believing in the work he’s put in. Getting that first pitch strike on most of the batters help him.”
The Rocketeers came out swinging, scoring three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning, all before Sinacola (7 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 10 K) even took the mound.
Sinacola (2-for-4, RBI) helped his own cause with a leadoff single, Jeff Gale (2-for-5, three runs) doubled, and Zach DeMattio (5-for-5, three RBI, three runs) brought the first run in with a single. Nate Pearce (1-for-1) added to the lead with a two-run double to give Big Red a 3-0 advantage after just half an inning.
“Getting those runs early gives me a lot of confidence, I feel like I have freedom on the mound and I just have to hit my spots,” Sinacola said.
In the second, junior Ryan Warren (1-for-3, run) led off with a single and Gale reached on an error. DeMattio made it 4-0 with a double and Gale crossed home when Kyle Bolger reached into a fielder’s choice.
Big Red’s offense continued to have success in the top of the third inning, pushing across two more runs. Brendan McHugh started things with a leadoff single and came home when Nick Raneri found the gap in right center field for an RBI triple. Sinacola again helped his cause, this time with an RBI single to make it 7-0.
Sinacola was terrific in the bottom of the third, striking out the side – two swinging, one looking – on just 10 pitches.
“He knows how to pitch,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour about Sinacola. “We could have been more aggressive in our approach but at the same time, we’re young and Nick has been around. I think a couple at-bats, he sensed it…first pitch curveball and set up the rest of the AB. Nick knows how to pitch, we saw it last year in that 10-inning battle. We have a lot of areas that we can improve but obviously you tip your cap to him, he pitched a hell of a game today.”
Aidan Harding (1-for-3, run) was responsible for tacking on another Big Red run in the top of the fourth. After a leadoff single, he took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Raneri.
Stoughton got its first base runner of the game in the bottom of the fourth when Robbie Seaman reached on an error but Sinacola needed just four pitches to get the next two outs.
The Rocketeers tacked on three more runs in the top of the fifth inning. Sinacola drew a one-out walk, took second on a single from Gale and scored on DeMattio’s RBI base hit. Bolger was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Harding and McHugh drew back-to-back walks to make it 11-0.
“A lot of guys, even the guys who aren’t starting, are putting in tremendous work during practice,” Hart said. “They know when they get an opportunity, they want to make the most of it. And they also put a lot of work during the offseason…guys want to play. They put me in a tough spot with so many guys but it’s a good place to be.”
Sinacola got into trouble for the first time in the top of the sixth inning. After getting the first out via strikeout, Sinacola fell behind 3-0 on Stoughton star Ruben Gonzalez — the first time Sinacola hit that count all day.
But the senior right-hander fired in a strike and then induced a ground ball up the right side. North’s Jackson Billingkoff, who came off the bench in the top half of the inning as a pinch hitter, made a great play on the ball and fired to first to just beat out Gonzalez to keep the no-hitter alive
“[Ruben] is really quick…I tried to get ahead on everyone, I think I did a good job most of the game but I fell behind him there,” Sinacola said. “I just missed some of my spots but I dialed it in and got back in, got that next strike to make it 3-1. Jackson made a great play for us there.”
“Jackson is a great athlete,” Hart said. “I think it was Gonzalez that hit it and we know he’s very fast. Jackson got over there and made the play. He just has a lot of confidence in himself to get it done. He knew he had to get a quick release there too and he got it.”
Matt Seavey added an RBI single in the top of the seventh to make it 12-0.
Stoughton nearly broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the seventh when sophomore James Genest hit a hard grounder to short. Ryan Pasquel, another defensive sub for the Rocketeers, made a diving play and fired to first in time. However, the ball was dropped at first resulting in an error but keeping the no-hitter alive.
Again, Sinacola needed just four more pitches to get the final two outs and complete the game.
North Attleboro baseball (4-0 Hockomock, 5-0 overall) is scheduled to return to action on Wednesday when it hosts Milford. Stoughton (2-3, 2-4) will try to bounce back when it hosts Sharon on Wednesday.
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