ANDOVER, Mass. -- Kevin Superko knew exactly what was coming. With his team tied against highy-touted national power DeMatha Catholic (Md.) and with Kenta Nomoto representing the winning run at second base in the bottom of the seventh inning, Superko, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter, worked the count to 3-1.
Now realizing Stags starting pitcher Andy Rozylow (CG, 7 hits, 3 Ks) would have to come in with a fastball, Superko sat on junior's letter-high offering by belting a shot well-over drawn in centerfielder Andrew Keith's head to plate Nomoto and give Phillips Academy-Andover a 3-2 victory Saturday afternoon.
The win marks the Big Blue's first of the season as they now stand at 1-3. DeMatha, which defeated Nobles 1-0 earlier in the day, falls to 9-4.
"I went up there having not seen (Rozylow) yet so I wanted to see where his arm slot was and get a feel for it," said Superko, a senior who will attend Georgetown University next fall. "He had a funky motion going on out there. He eventually got me into a 3-1 count and I was looking fastball and wanted to zone it up and I was able to."
With their pitching corps taxed coming in, PA needed a solid outing from junior pitcher Thomas Lane. The Boston College-bound right-hander delivered, going the distance allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 4.
"We didn't expect to get a complete game out of Thomas," Big Blue head coach Kevin Graber said. "My concern was we had some games the last couple of days and not much of a bullpen today. Thomas was like just get on my back because he was determined to take this game from start to finish. He wasn't perfect but he battled and competed and his slider was a reliable pitch for him at times today."
Scoreless through three, the Stags got to Lane for a run in the top of the fourth. Chris Jeletic was hit by a pitch to start the frame. Two outs later, he came home on Brad Thaxton's double to left. But PA answered in the bottom of the inning. With John Festa (walk) and Matt Whalen (single) standing at second and third base, respectively, and one out, Nick Gorski hit a slow roller to shortstop Ben Prada. But by the time the senior fielded the ball, Festa had already crossed home and Gorski was safe at first to knot things at 1-1.
Nomoto followed by looping a single to right plating Whalen with the go-ahead run.
The lead was brief however as DeMatha -- based out of Hyattsville, Md. -- stormed back in their half of the fifth. With two out, Keith singled and senior Justin Morris, who has already committed to play at the University of Maryland next year and is also expected to be a high-round MLB draft pick, roped a double to left-center scoring Keith to make it 2-2.
"It was a good baseball game overall," Stags head coach Sean O'Connor said. "The one knock on us is we let their lead-off hitter get on a couple of times and that hurt us. We hit the ball hard and didn't have bad approached. We just seemed to hit balls right at guys. Give their pitcher credit. That was a great performance. He went out and threw the ball today. Our pitcher also pitched well and has a lot of upside no doubt."
Things stayed quiet until the deciding seventh with Superko coming away the walk-off hero to give his team a much-needed victory.
"Our last three games had been disappointing leading up to this one," Superko said. "We knew that team was good and we knew that we needed to play well. Hats off to Thomas Lane because he pitched a heck of a game for us. We knew what we had to do today and fortunately we got it done. To beat a solid team like really feels great."