A Perfect 10: Monomoy Baseball Blanks Cape Tech In Mercy-Rule Victory

by Brad Joyal

HARWICH – A year ago, it took the Monomoy baseball team roughly a month before it found its footing and ultimately made a run to the Division 4 state tournament.

This year, the Sharks didn’t waste any time before hitting the ground running.

After a strong preseason, Monomoy opened its regular season with a dominant 10-0 victory over crosstown rival Cape Cod Tech in six innings on Monday afternoon at Whitehouse Field.

“It was a great way to start the season,” Monomoy coach Steve Porter said. “Our pitcher threw strikes, our hitters put the bat on the ball, and we made the plays that we were supposed to.”

Junior righthander Finn Hyora earned the complete-game shutout after tossing six innings of one-hit ball while surrendering one walk and striking out five. Senior Owen Lavin went 2-for-4 with two singles, an RBI and two runs, while senior Trey Nunes and junior Chace Robbins collected two hits each.

Porter said the outcome was a direct reflection of the attitude the Sharks have had since they first met for practice. The team wants to build off last year’s 11-11 record and postseason appearance, which began with an 8-3 victory over Assabet in the preliminary round and ended with a 7-2 loss to top-seeded Bellingham.

“Last year, we kind of started slow and then about halfway through the season we started really gelling as a team,” Porter said. “As soon as tryouts started this spring, I felt that the energy was there. We gelled instantly and everything that we built last year is already carrying over to this year. Guys are hitting their stride earlier, which is great.”

Hyora was especially strong at the start of the game. He posted 1-2-3 innings in the first and second, striking out the first two batters he faced and fanning two more in the second frame.

“It’s good to set the tone early and let them know that I’m going to be pounding the zone and letting my fielders know to stay alert because I’m throwing strikes,” said Hyora, a Chatham resident.

Lavin, a Harwich resident, said it was special to be able to experience that winning feeling following the season opener.

“It’s so much fun,” he said. “Hearing ‘Party in the USA’ — our win song — after the game got all the boys fired up.”

As ready as Monomoy came to play, Cape Tech struggled to get through innings cleanly and made eight errors in defeat. Although first-year coach Frank Zaino was disappointed in the outcome, he was pleased with the way sophomore Caleb Graham pitched in his varsity debut.

“He threw strikes and did his job, we just made some errors,” Zaino said. “That comes from guys being out of position and not knowing baseball as well as they should.”

Zaino said the first few weeks of the season will be a work in progress as he gets acclimated with the players.

“I don’t even know the kids’ names yet. I literally took this job 10 days ago,” said Zaino, who previously coached Team Cape Cod and at Sturgis East. “My goals are to teach these guys how to be fundamentally sound, throw strikes and make routine plays. If they do that, I’ll be OK. Obviously everybody wants to win, but if you’re not taught how to play the position correctly, I need to reteach that.”

While Cape Tech will look to build on last year’s 6-12 record, Monomoy is hoping to make a deeper run in the postseason after finishing with an 11-11 mark.

“Coach mentioned before the game, he made a little March Madness reference about how last year was like a Cinderella run,” Lavin said. “This year, we have expectations set for ourselves that we want to be a higher seed.”