SOUTHINGTON — After striking out a batter to end the sixth inning, East Catholic pitcher Frank Mozzicato turned around and waved to the section of Southington students up the first base line Monday night.
The fans had been yelling at Mozzicato all game — and he loved it.
“Just hearing the chirps, it fuels the fire a little bit and we kind of talked about that (in the dugout): let them talk,” Mozzicato said. “That’s what the game is for. Nothing against them. That’s where the game is going and that is awesome.”
There wasn’t much they could say to Mozzicato after this one. He pitched a 17-strikeout, no-hitter as No. 1 East Catholic defeated No. 3 Southington, 8-0, in front of an overflow crowd at Southington’s Fontana Field.
It was Mozzicato’s second-consecutive no-hitter following a 13-strikeout performance in a in a 10-0, six-inning mercy rule victory over Berlin last week.
The UConn commit and potential MLB draft pick allowed one walk in the third inning, which prompted a visit from coach Martin Fiori.
The coach wouldn’t say what he told his senior lefty, except that he didn’t have to say much.
“What are you going to do?” Fiori said. “You get a front row seat to watch it.”
Mozzicato struck out the next 10 batters he faced before allowing a groundout to start the seventh inning. From the second inning to the sixth inning, Mozzicato recorded all 15 outs by strikeout.
“(My) curveball was good. It’s always my go-to pitch. But fastball was definitely on,” Mozzicato said. “I was able to locate it where I wanted to. That’s the pitch that’s going to get me ahead in counts.”
He silenced a vaunted Southington lineup which had scored over 10 runs a game. None of the balls put in play left the infield.
“We told the guys he’s good,” Southington assistant coach Brian Downes said. “You go off to college and play Division II you’ll never see a kid like that. You play Division I, depending on the conference, you might not see a kid like that. Hats off to him.”
With Mozzicato in control, Fiori was able to focus on the rest of the game.
“Frankie can be Frankie,” he said. “It’s a luxury — obviously — to have. I was more focused on us putting runs on the board.”
That wasn’t too tough, either. East Catholic, which assumed the GameTimeCT No. 1 ranking just hours before, scored three runs in the fifth and sixth innings to give Mozzicato an 8-0 lead. East Catholic junior shortstop Alex Irizarry led the way with three hits and three RBIs in the win.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Frank Mozzicato, East Catholic: [This space intentionally left blank]
“Isn’t this kind of good for the sport? Good for the kids to experience something like this. It was fun,” East Catholic coach Martin Fiori.