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Titans get a gem from Mondak, look to build on it

POSTED June 30, 2016
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

Watertown native Nick Mondak pitched a gem on Thursday night at Fuessenich Park as he threw seven innings of one-hit ball, striking out 11 in a 2-0 win for the Titans.

TORRINGTON - The Torrington Titans entered Thursday night's game against the North Shore Navigators looking for a spark and pitcher Nick Mondak gave it to them.

Monday tossed seven scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts while allowing just a hit and three walks in a 2-0 Titans victory. The win improved Torrington's record to 10-15 on the season and perhaps more importantly, the game was evidence that the Titans do have an ace they can call on when they need a win.

And on Thursday they needed it. Having lost two games to the Navigators already this season, Thursday's game was one the Titans had to have. They got it thanks to great pitching from Mondak, two strong innings from the bullpen and just enought offense to get it done.

The Titans are now 3-1 in games Mondak has appeared in and the St. John's freshman to be has struck out 30 with just six walks in 18 2/3 innings and lowered his ERA to 1.44. Not bad for a kid who was pitching in the Naugatuck Valley League for Watertown High School less than a month ago. On Thursday Mondak looked plenty ready for college, striking out the first eight North Shore batters of the game. The first Navigator to put the ball in play was third baseman R.J. Warnock and his fly out to right came after a pitch that everyone in a Titans uniform wanted to be called a strike.

"I just tried not to think about it and just go out there work low, hit spots and get ahead in the counts," Mondak said. "You have an idea how its going but I was just trying to make pitches and let the defense work."

Working with a fastball, changeup and breaking ball, Mondak didn't allow a hit until the fifth and recorded his final strikeout in the sixth with the game still scoreless.

"Nick has been the guy so far this season," new Titans coach Zack LaRosa said. "The big thing for him is to have confidence in his third pitch. He has a hard fastball and great changeup and he's been working on a slider-curveball. For him to have the confidence to throw it, just show that he can throw it for a strike, it totally changes the dynamic of things."

The Titans scored both of their runs in the sixth. Jose Negron, who had three hits, got things started with a one-out single. Negron scored on an RBI double by Mikey Arman and Evan Klugerman drove in the second run with a bases loaded walk. 

"I was struggling a little bit tonight and he was a good pitcher, hit spots," Arman said. "He just hung one and I took advantage. It was the first mistake he made all game. And when you get an opportunity like tonight and the game we got from Nick, you have to win."

Mondak went out and worked around a one-out walk in the seventh before giving way to the bullpen. Mike Schettino pitched a scoreless eighth and Malachi Emond allowed a hit and struck out the side in the ninth to record his first save of the season for the Titans.  North Shore starter Richie Cruz took the loss. The Florida International sophomore allowed two runs and three hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

Torrington goes for its first three-game win streak of the season Friday night at home against the Pittsfield Suns.

"It's been a season of ups and downs so far but what is going to determine our season is if we can put something together and roll with it," LaRosa said. "We are closer to being good than we are further way and we are just two games out of the playoffs, lots to play for."

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