SWEDESBORO--- Dylan Maria knows firsthand how difficult it can be dealing with relievers who deliver from different angles.
The good news for Maria is his Highland teammates carry that advantage, and it benefited the Tartans in their 6-3 Tri-County Conference win over Kingsway on Friday.
“As a hitter myself, seeing overhand and a bit higher velocity to sidearm with drip or with any type of movement, it’s hard to adjust in the first at-bat because the ball moves weird, especially with the wind,” Maria said. “It’s just really tough to adjust to that.”
Jake McDonnell and Todd Cavallaro combined for four strong innings out of the bullpen to secure the win for the Tartans.
The pair of Highland relievers kept the Dragons off balance, with McDonnell delivering in an over-the-top motion and Cavallaro coming in for the final two innings as a sidearmer.
“It throws off the batter enough to create a good balance,” McDonnell said. “Our staff is loaded. I think we have plenty of arms.”
In between McDonnell’s first and second inning of work, the Tartans put up four runs in the fifth inning.
Dan Robeson’s RBI single, a bases loaded walk to Maria and a sacrifice fly to center from Brian Cooey helped pack on the lead.
“We get the job done,” Maria said. “We advance the runners and we score them. That’s what we work on a lot. It’s been getting us a lot of good runs and we’ve been capitalizing on it.”
The other run of the fourth came from some quick thinking out of Maria, who got himself caught in a run down to allow a runner to score from third.
“I wasn’t expecting the first and third move to be honest,” Maria said. “I knew that I had to capitalize on my mistake. Getting caught in the run down was the best-case scenario to make sure the runner from third scored. I just did my best to give him time to get home and ended up safe at first.”
The cushion built for the relievers helped them focus on finishing off an early Tri-County Liberty victory.
“When a guy gets on base up by three or four, it’s not that big of a deal,” McDonnell said. “I was working curveball and a lot of pitches trying to get some ground balls. Up by that much, I trust all my stuff.”
“They did a great job,” Maria said. “I trust my guys in the bullpen. They have nasty stuff. We got sidearmers, we got over the top, big curveballs. We’re loaded right now.”
Highland: 100 041 0-6
Kingsway 200 000 1-3
WP: Jake McDonnell LP: Josh Crowding
2B: H: Adam Aquilano
HR: H: Dylan Maria, K: Zach Brook