After surrendering a first-inning run and shaking off an early bout of wildness, Staples High pitcher Rob Vallone settled down.
Eventually, after his team supplied him a few runs and the lead, the junior right-hander overpowered opposing batters, one after another.
Vallone allowed just one hit -- a single to lead off the sixth -- and struck out nine in a complete-game effort as Staples topped Brien McMahon 4-1 on Friday at home.
He walked four batters, including two in the first inning when McMahon scored its lone run.
"My stuff was really good, but I just couldn't harness it," said Vallone, who was mixing in a cutter and slurve with his fastball early. "Once we put some runs on the board, it really just calmed me down. Making some plays in the field really calmed me down."
Trailing 1-0 in the second inning, Staples jumped ahead with three runs on four walks and one hit -- all off McMahon's Alex Valenzano. Nick Vega tied it 1-1 with a single and Doug Bonenfant's ground out gave the Wreckers a 2-1 lead. The Wreckers' third run scored on an errant pickoff throw from the catcher.
"You have to pitch to contact. Some of those guys hit the ball hard right at guys later in the game. You can't walk four guys," McMahon coach John Cross said. "You can't do that in high school, especially in one inning. Spread out over a game, four is a lot to me."
Three runs was more than enough for Vallone, who allowed just three baserunners over the final five innings.
"His first start, I thought he was effectively wild," Staples coach Jack McFarland said. "They really couldn't get a beat on him."
After mixing in offspeed pitches in the early innings, Vallone relied mainly on his fastball late. He retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings, and worked around a single by catcher Mike Giordano in the sixth. Vallone struck out the side in the final inning.
"Don't try to fix what's not broken," Vallone said. "I was just trying to work off of that."
Staples (2-0) recorded five hits -- all singles -- and drew eight walks in the win.
"I was a little disappointed that we scored four runs today," McFarland said. "I thought it should've been an eight- or nine-run day for us. We had our opportunities."
The Wreckers added a run in the fourth inning on a single by center fielder James Frusciante, which scored Vega.
Valenzano took the loss for McMahon after allowing three runs (two earned) on a hit and four walks in two innings. Sophomore left-hander Paul Salata pitched well in relief, allowing just four hits over the final four innings.
Shortstop Mark Ballard scored the Senators' lone run on a wild pitch in the first inning.
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STAPLES 4, BRIEN MCMAHON 1
MCMAHON 100 000 0 -- 111
STAPLES 030 100 -- 4 5 0
Records: McMahon 1-1; Staples 2-0.
Batteries: M -- Alex Valenzano (L, 0-1), Paul Salata (3) and Mike Giordano; S -- Robert Vallone (W, 1-0) and Doug Bonenfant.