Palm Beach High School Baseball
Cardinal Newman High School Baseball

King’s Academy’s Hollis Throws No-Hitter In Game Of The Week

Jarred Francis connects for a two-run home run that electrified King’s Academy in the bottom of the first.

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Warming up in the bullpen prior to Friday night’s HSBN Palm Beach Game of the Week, King’s Academy’s Trevor Hollis was not feeling his best stuff. There was no way that he could predict that he was going to go out and throw a no-hitter and lead his team to a big, 10-0 victory against district foe Cardinal Newman by the way the ball was working during warmups.

Meanwhile, King’s catcher Jake Gerardi knew something that the rest of the world was about to find out: the senior pitcher had a new pitch in his arsenal.

“This game he implemented a slider,” Gerardi said. “We’ve been working on it in the bullpen, and in the bullpen before the game it wasn’t cutting very much or sliding, but then in the game it just clicked. We were calling at least 20% sliders and they were swinging all over the place for it. He was able to incorporate that so fast into his game that it was amazing that he can do that.”

Hollis lived in the strike zone all night, throwing 56 of his 83 total pitches for strikes. With an impressive selection of pitches called between Gerardi and Lions Pitching Coach Dave Salley, the right-hander kept the Crusaders guessing at the plate all night. Hollis walked two and recorded four strikeouts, facing just three batters over the minimum in his six innings of work.

“Honestly, it didn’t feel good in the bullpen. But every time I don’t feel good I pitch the best,” Hollis admitted. “I don’t know if it is all about adjustments but just being mentally focused. Forget about what happened that last pitch, I need to make this pitch the one that counts. I need to hit this spot. We were trying to keep them off-balance by starting middle-in with the two-seam, with a four-seam hard and outside late in the counts. The slider was really working today and I dropped a couple of curveballs in there for a strike.”

Hollis retired the final 13 batters in order. The Crusaders (3-7, 2-3) had their best chance to extend the starter and get on the scoreboard when they stranded two runners in the second. Jude Lescaille walked but was then erased at second on a fielder’s choice from Jacob Connley, and Ryan Lange then drew the only other walk of the night. Hollis responded by inducing an infield grounder right back to him for a 1-3 putout that ended the only scoring threat.

“Trevor is an amazing guy and I have been with him for four or five years and the trust that we have between each other is 100%,” Gerardi said. “When I give him the look and he gives it to me back I know we’re going to go out there and compete and we’re going to work hard. That’s what I love about Trevor; he’s never going to give up. He doesn’t care if he lets up a two-run home run or he strikes a guy out, he’s going to have the same attitude after every pitch and just keep competing.”

The Crusaders brought excellent energy and passion in their effort, but the offense was unable to figure out Hollis.

There is a lot of trust from the coaching staff and their starting catcher, and Friday night also helped Lions manager Brad Wilkerson really learn what Hollis is made of.

“He really did a great job,” Wilkerson said of Hollis. “I didn’t think he had his great stuff tonight, but he fought through it in those tough times and really just hit his spots. He showed me a lot tonight by fighting through the innings that he didn’t have great stuff, to just get out of it and make his pitches at the right time.”

Not to be forgotten on the night was the impressive support the Lions (5-4, 4-1) received from its offense. Kings had nine hits and nearly every starter reached base. Cardinal Newman junior starter Anthony Badala is off to a nice start this season and he also came out pounding the zone with a strong arsenal of pitches. But the Lions were patient and selective and they made it count when they struck.

The middle of the order had a very strong night, as clean-up hitter Jarred Francis got things started with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. Andrew Lee singled and stole second to create a scoring opportunity with two outs, and Francis put a charge on a 1-2 offering and sent it high and deep over the center field fence.

“It’s amazing how much energy it creates in our dugout when Jarred hits a homer,” Wilkerson said. “He hit one in the preseason and it is awesome. We work on all parts of our game, but we hit a lot. Today we really did a good job of making adjustments and not swinging at the pitcher’s best pitches. I mean, he made a lot of good pitches early in the game with his breaking ball that a lot of high school hitters swing at that we didn’t swing at. We did a very good job of letting off the breaking ball.”

Kevin Casey went berzerker for two hits, including a three-run home run that ended the game.

The Lions added to the lead with three more in the fourth. Darien Rorabeck singled through the left side, Jack Clancy followed with a base knock to right and Kyle Barnowski walked to load the bases. Lee then connected for a shot deep to the center field fence for a bases-clearing double that increased it to a 5-0 lead.

The Lions finished things off with five more runs in the sixth to walk it off via the mercy rule thanks to a three-run home run to left field from Kevin Casey. Clancy got it started with a single, advanced to second when Barnowski walked, and he then stole third before a wild pitch allowed him to score. Lee also walked and Francis followed with a fielder’s choice RBI that erased Lee at second. Noah Hogue then walked to bring Casey up for his second hit of the night.

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