Nick Manton Throws No-Hitter; Rocket Rolls Over Freire 16-1

In some respects the game was over before the Rocket's high-powered offense even stepped to the plate. In their first official home game at their new field in Mt. Airy Park, their defense helped Nick Manton retire the first 3 batters he faced on a measly 8 pitches, hinting at what would develop into a dominating performance. 14 batters came to the plate in the bottom of the first for SLA and 10 crossed home, which confused the manual scorekeepers on the freshly-minted Science Leadership Academy Scoreboard. The best they could do was leave a 0 in the 1st frame and report the official score on the far side as they entered the 2nd inning. 

Manton's dominance continued as he struck out the next two batters he faced and got out of a jam as two reached base on errors. The Rocket was back at it again in the bottom of the 2nd when Stephen Eager-White turned the order over again with a screamer down the line to score one and move another Rocket to 3rd. Ethan Reese brought in two more by forcing a quick throw on an infield single that got past their First Basemen. Jeff Schwartz, who had already tripled and doubled in the first inning alone, put down a sacrifice bunt to move a runner but ended up reaching on a low throw. 

Freire finally stopped the bleeding and kept the game alive when their Shortstop turned a beautiful unassisted double play by grabbing a hot shot from Kevin Courtney, tagging Schwartz and shooting a laser to first in time to catch Kevin racing down the line. Nick took back the mound in the 3rd, struck out two more and also fielded the 3rd out to keep his "No-No" intact. 

Recognizing that Freire wasn't going to mount a comeback The Rocket took their foot off the gas and played the remainder of the game as respectfully as possible. Freire finally got on the board in the 4th after they reached base on a communication error in the infield. That baserunner successfully stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a Balk (the only blemish on Manton's stellar performance on the mound), and eventually scored on a passed ball that skipped to the backstop. 

Jeff Schwartz, who finished the game 3-3 with 3RBI, 3Runs, and just shy of hitting for the Cycle, reached on a walk in his 4th plate appearance. Kevin Courtney followed with a solid shot that was hard to handle in right which scored Schwartz. Kevin ended up at third a pitch later and easily scored on Manton's single to center to ice the game. 

The 16-run Rocket attack was also fueled by Abe Musselman who went 3-3 and racked up 3RBIs in the 2 spot; Freshman Mike Ostrowski who reached base on all 3 plate appearances and ripped an RBI-double in the 1st; Mike Sanders who worked a walk and later scored on a single by Ethan Reese; and an RBI-single by the Rocket's Big Man Raekwon Smith. While Freire's defense consistently stopped themselves from making it a competitive game, SLA's attack was a fine balance of power-hitting and small-ball efficiency. Nick Manton, who earned his 2nd win of the season for SLA had a final line of 4IP, 0ER, 0H, 7K, 0BB, producing the 2nd unconventional "No-Hitter" in team history. 

SLA looks to ride this energizing wave into a 3-game road trip next week against University City (Mon, 4/8), Lamberton (Wed, 4/10) and Sankofa Freedom Academy (Fri, 4/12). Shortly after the game ended, Varsity got word that their J.V. counterpart also had their way with a 12-4 road win over Mastbaum. Diamond Blenman pitched lights out for the second straight game, Jordan McLaughlin hit a triple and also struck out every batter he faced in relief. J.V. has their Home Opener at Mt. Airy Park against Olney on Tues, 4/9. 

Rockets on 3, 1…2…3, ROCKETS!!!