OCEAN CITY — Rob Ready and Mason Carmolingo appeared ready Tuesday afternoon for their prominent roles on the St. Augustine Prep pitching staff this season.
The duo combined to throw a four-hit shutout as the Hermits beat Ocean City 6-0 in a Cape-Atlantic League interdivision game. St. Augustine (1-0) is the defending state Non-Public champion and ranked No. 1 in The Press Elite 11. Ocean City (1-1) is No. 11.
“It’s great getting the season off right,” Ready said, “and getting the boys pumped up.”
Ready did not allow a hit and struck out six in four innings. Carmolingo struck out eight and allowed four hits in the final three innings.
“I feel like everything was working,” Carmolingo said. “The fastball was good. The curveball was locating right at the knees.”
Ready, a senior, made just two starts last season, Carmolingo, a junior, made his varsity debut Tuesday.
St. Augustine graduated several standout pitchers. Also, Gerry Peacock, a Notre Dame recruit who was expected to be one of the Hermits’ top pitchers this season, will undergo Tommy John surgery later this month.
“Some of our younger guys are going to see more time,” Hermits coach Mike Bylone said. “Rob and Mason did very well in the preseason, and we expect that to carry on through the season.”
Tuesday’s game was played in cloudy, chilly and windy conditions. That is often the case for early-season games in Ocean City, where the field is located on the bay, just a few blocks from the ocean.
“You know it’s going to be cold down here,” Bylone said. “The mindset is to try to score early. It’s only going to get colder and damper.”
That’s exactly what the Hermits did.
Ken Levari knocked in two runs with a first-inning single. One batter later, Anthony Sofran scored Levari with a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Hermits a 3-0 lead.
Ocean City started Tom Finnegan on the mound. The 6-foot5-5 right-hander already has committed to the University of Kentucky.
Finnegan allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base on a walk and two singles.
“He doesn’t know how to warm up yet,” Ocean City coach Andrew Bristol said of Finnegan. “I asked him what he learned today, and he said, ‘I learned I need to warm up until we’re ready to go (and start the game).’ ”
Finnegan, however, kept his composure and did not give another hit after the first inning. He threw four innings, walking four, striking out four and allowing four runs, three of them earned.
“He was much better after the first inning,” Bristol said. “He had a little bit of nerves, I’m sure. It was a big spot. He was thrown right in the fire, but I’m proud of his effort.”
Once the Hermits grabbed the early lead, Ready and Carmolingo did the rest.
“We knew we were going to have to fill some roles this season,” Carmolingo said. “We had a lot of pitchers graduate. But I feel like (we) and a lot of kids in our dugout are properly prepared to fulfill those roles.”
St. Augustine 310 000 2 – 6 3 2
Ocean City 000 000 0 – 0 4 4
WP: Ready (1-0)
LP: Finnegan (0-1)