STRATFORD—Stratford baseball coach Mick Buckmir felt Red Devils’ ace Zach Fedak didn’t have his best stuff on Monday.
Don’t tell that to the Notre Dame-Fairfield Lancers.
The left-handed Fedak one-hit the Lancers at Penders Field, helping to deliver a 2-0 Red Devils win on a night that raised awareness for something far more important.
The night was a benefit game for “FANS for the CURE”—a program founded by WFAN radio personality Ed Randall, and helps raise awareness about prostate cancer.
“It came out of the blue, which makes it even more special than it was,” Randall said after the game. “For Mick to organize this, along with the support of Notre Dame, it means a lot to me. I’m so flattered and honored to be here tonight.”
Randall takes prostate cancer seriously. He is, after all, a survivor of the disease.
“I like to say I’ve got 31,620 reasons for being here tonight,” he said. “That’s the number of men projected to die of prostate cancer in 2019. We at FANS for the CURE have no tolerance for because there is almost a 100 percent cure rate if its’ discovered. I know that because I’m one of those guys.”
Fedak and his battery-mate, sophomore catcher Anthony Torreso, helped make sure Randall witnessed a Stratford win.
With Fedak putting up zeroes, inning after inning, Stratford made sure its 2-0 first-inning lead held up.
“The best thing about Fedak today, and we talked about this in our team huddle, is he’s our senior and No. 1 and he would admit he didn’t have his best stuff,” Buckmir said. “That’s the sign of a great pitcher. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he threw up zeroes.”
Fedak said he felt physically ill before the game, but still took to the hill.
“During the National Anthem, I felt like I was going to throw up,” Fedak said. “I was actually nervous. I couldn’t find the zone early, but I settled in. They weren’t hitting, so I just kept pounding the zone. That’s what happened.”
Fedak struck out struck, including the last four batters he faced in the game.
In the bottom of the first, the Red Devils got their pitcher all the runs he would need.
With one out, Fedak and RJ Burlone had back-to-back singles.
Down 0-2, Torreso then took a pitch to right field, scoring Fedak and putting Stratford on top.
“The first two pitches he threw me were back-door sliders, and I was down oh-two,” Torreso said. “I just thought shorten up and go to right field. He pitched me just outside again and I took it to right field.”
The Red Devils then caught a break as Malcolm Kinder’s ground ball turned into a Lancer error, allowing Burlone to score for a 2-0 lead.
“We got a timely hit and a lucky break and got our two runs,” Buckmir said. “It was a good ball game. They’re a good ball club. But pitching and defense wins games.”
A couple other clutch hits could have blown the game open, but Stratford was unable to come up with those, leaving 11 runners on base in the game. That included leaving the sacks full in the first and third innings and two runners on in the sixth.
Fedak, however, had the rest of the answers.
“I thought his fastball was pretty good. He was hitting his spots,” Torreso said. “His curve ball was pretty good. He got them swinging at some balls in the dirt. He did well enough to get the job done.”
Stratford is now 9-7 overall and 6-4 in SWC play.