St. Rita’s Jake Shepski has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen this season for the Mustangs.
That status changed Wednesday.
With the pitching staff depleted late in the season, Shepski gutted his way through five-plus innings in his first start of the season and the lineup came through top to bottom as St. Rita won an ugly 12-5 game Wednesday at Mount Carmel.
“I knew we were kind of low on pitching, and the team needed me to come out and just help get that win,” Shepski said. “I had my guys behind me, and we really swung the bat today. A big win.”
Shepski (4-1) threw 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts in his first start.
With St. Laurence’s 4-2 win over Brother Rice, St. Rita (28-2, 13-1) can clinch at least a share of the Catholic League Blue title Saturday with a second win over Mount Carmel (21-6, 11-4). St. Laurence also boasts a 13-1 conference record.
“We’ve got to have confidence and stick with it the whole game,” St. Rita’s Nick Goldsmith said. “We really haven’t gotten it done on our home field the last couple games so we have to stay focused and keep up that intensity.”
Both St. Rita’s losses this season have come at home, to St. Laurence and Brother Rice, both of the defeats over the last week-plus.
On Wednesday though, the Mustangs’ bats came to play in a big way. After Tyler Halas’ RBI double opened the scoring in the first, Goldsmith blew things open.
The senior first baseman went opposite field to right with a mammoth three-run home run. St. Rita went up 4-0 through one and 7-0 through two innings.
“They tried to mix us up a little, and we were able to get ahead in counts,” Goldsmith said. “On the home run, I tried to get under it, and it carried. I’ve been calm and cool at the plate this year, and our whole team is hitting really well.”
Danny Gleaves (3 runs), Shane Peisker (3 hits, 2 runs), Shepski (2 runs) and Halas (2 runs) led a balanced lineup for the Mustangs who can now turn their attention to Saturday.
“We’ve got to come up big on Saturday,” Shepski said. “Share it or take it ourselves. You never wish anything bad on another team, but we want it ourselves. Mount Carmel is going to come back strong.”
Ako Thomas (RBI) and A.J. Lewis (2 runs) led the Caravan in the losing effort.