Mondak stars again. Titans pick up important 7-1 win over Dirt Dawgs.
TORRINGTON: I’m not sure if anyone saw this coming.
That a pitcher, fresh out of high school would become the talk of a summer baseball league featuring players with, in most cases, had at least a season under their belts at the college level.
The Torrington Titans hit gold with that player so far this summer in St John’s bound Nick Mondak, who just graduated from high school seven short weeks ago and has turned out to be one of the best, if not the best pitcher in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League this summer.
Mondak and the Titans won an important game on Thursday night as the got past the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs by a 7-1 final behind five solid innings from Mondak and a terrific relief effort by Zeke Long who closed out the last four.
With a mere 10 games left in the regular season, the playoffs are still in play for the Titans who after action on Thursday hold a half game lead on the Dirt Dawgs for the fourth and final post season spot in the FCBL West.
Back to Mondak. The tall lefty (hard to believe no MLB team drafted him out of WHS) now sports a 4-1 record and a miniscule 1.14 ERA, which leads the league by a wide margin.
In six starts this year, Mondak has allowed just three earned runs. In three of those starts, he did not allow any runs and is working on a 15-inning scoreless streak dating back to the All-Star break.
By the way, he also was named the Top Pitcher in his first All-Star game at the collegiate level after striking out the three batters he faced and earned the league’s Pitcher of the Week honor last week.
In 39.1 innings, he has struck out 59 while walking 11.
On Thursday night, without his best stuff, Mondak struck out six in five innings but had gone over the pitch count limit of 90 (91) at the end of the frame, ending his night.
In his last outing, Mondak pitched seven innings of shutout ball and left with a 4-0 lead but the Torrington bullpen gave up seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning at Seacoast in an eventual 7-4 loss.
Long, who had struggled over his last two outings that saw him allow 12 runs in just 3.1 innings, allowed just one run on four hits Thursday night, fanning five in the process.
Torrington manager Zach LaRosa has been impressed with what he has seen from this young lefty.
“The kid’s a machine,” LaRosa said. “He’s 18-years old and has proven to be probably the best pitcher in the league. There is a lot of talk amongst other team’s coaches about how the sky is the limit for him. We’ve been lucky to get him with his good stuff most of the year.”
The Torrington offense gave Mondak an early 2-0 lead after first inning RBI’s from Michael Purcell and Mike DiMartino.
Mike Foley blasted a long home run over the 360 foot mark in left center in the second for a 3-0 lead which is more than enough when Mondak is on.
The home team added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth on ribbie singles from Nick Lamberti and Mike Kochiss.
DiMartino launched an RBI double to near dead center (400 feet) to drive in the teams sixth run in the fifth and came around to score on a single by Foley.
In his five frames, Mondak had just one clean inning, the third and worked out of trouble in the top of the second by striking out the side after the first two Dirt Dawgs reached base.
That ability to bear down when he needed to is a great sign for his Division I choice, St Johns, where he will head at the end of August.
With every game a big one at this point, the Titans are going to need the kind of pitching effort they got from their youngest arm by the remainder of the staff which has shown signs of improvement in the second half.
Mondak should get one more start before the regular season ends and perhaps another if the team make the post season.