It was during his most recent start, when he allowed an uncharacteristic five runs in less than four innings, that Kevin Doherty felt a twinge in his throwing arm. The Good Counsel senior lefthander visited a doctor, who prescribed a few extra days of rest.
Back on the mound Saturday morning, Doherty showed that his health is fine and once again exhibited the form that makes him one of the Washington area’s top prospects.
Doherty hurled his first complete game this season, striking out a career-high 11, and the host third-ranked Falcons used an unearned run in the first inning to edge second-ranked St. John’s, 1-0, in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game in Olney.
“My last start [a 10-5 victory over O’Connell] I got tired and this time I was expecting it, too,” said Doherty, who accepted a scholarship offer from Virginia before his junior season. “Today, I just felt strong.”
Good Counsel Coach Carl Smith said he keeps his pitchers on strict pitch counts; the Falcons (16-5, 9-3) have yet to see one of their pitchers throw 100 pitches in a game this season. So it helped that Doherty was efficient Saturday, allowing five hits and walking none. It was the third time in six starts this season that he did not allow a run.
St. John’s (21-2, 13-1), which had won a school-record 20 consecutive games, had runners in scoring position in five of the seven innings. Four times, though, Doherty ended the threats with strikeouts, including on an off-speed pitch in the dirt to end the sixth inning with a runner on third base.
With the opportunity to go back out for the seventh, Doherty struck out the side in order as Good Counsel earned its biggest victory this season. Anthony Vaglica singled, moved to second on Kevin Ross’s infield single and scored on a throwing error for the game’s only run. The Falcons had lost the teams’ first meeting, 3-2 in nine innings.
“He’s got a level of maturity,” Smith said. “If we’re going to go anywhere in the playoffs and for him in his college career, he’s going to have to take games like this on his shoulders.”
Doherty had to be good Saturday; his counterpart, St. John’s righthander Danny O’Donnell, allowed just four singles without a walk. O’Donnell, who signed with George Washington, has allowed just two unearned runs in 37 innings this season.