Osbourn senior catcher Colin Dunleavy has witnessed many exasperated reactions from batters this season when they try to hit Tony Pasquariello's confounding curveball, again the right-hander's out pitch in an 8-3 win over visiting Potomac (Va.) last night.
Pasquariello hurled a four-hitter, walked one and fanned nine -- with four of his first six victims called out on third strikes -- to jockey his team into a tie for first place in the Virginia AAA Cedar Run District. He also led an 11-hit attack with two singles and a double.
"His curveball . . . is ridiculous," Dunleavy said. "It fools everybody. It looks like a fastball coming in, and then right at the very end, it just dies."
Pasquariello and Dunleavy had brothers on the Osbourn team that won its first 24 games in 2002 before losing in the state quarterfinals. These Eagles (12-3, 3-1) cannot duplicate that feat, but with five sophomores, two juniors and a freshman in the starting lineup, the future looks even more promising.
Osbourn batted around last night in a five-run second inning keyed by two-run hits from two of those sophomores -- Kevin Kirk and Brett Howell -- off Potomac junior sidearmer Mike Matta, who was lifted in the third.
"Only winning seven games last year, I'm not too sure they really believe in themselves yet," Osbourn Coach Keith Howell said. "They've seen winning programs around here, but they're not used to winning until this year. It's going to take more than a year to really kick in."
Potomac (9-4, 3-1) is on a rare three-game losing streak. Senior infielder Brandon Maupin, two homers shy of tying a school-record 18, continues to be nagged by an inner ear problem and was removed from the game early last night. Senior second baseman Bobby Potter, one of the leading base stealers in school history, remains out with a broken arm, and other experienced players were dropped from the program for disciplinary reasons.
All along, Coach Mike Covington figured his team's 9-1 start was a fluke, and a series of fundamental mistakes last night, and generally uninspired play, further cemented that opinion.
"It looks like to me that [Osbourn is] playing on Astroturf," Covington said, "[and] we're playing in quicksand."