Schild no-hits Patriots, strikes out 16, to open 2022 campaign for Eagles


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Middletown South High School junior ace Ben Schild loves pitching on the big stage. He showed that in 2021 when he threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout in the NJSIAA Group IV championship game to lead the Eagles to their first state title in 25 years.

On April 1, Schild was on the mound in Middletown, pitching for the Eagles in the 2022 season opener against Freehold Township High School and once again he was outstanding.

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Schild struck out a career-high 16 hitters and and did not allow a hit as he went the distance in the Eagles’ 6-0 win over the Patriots.

“It felt really good,” Schild said after completing his no-hitter. “I was happy to get the start on opening day for my team. I did a lot of preparation for what is to come this season and I was able to apply everything I was working on.”

Schild, who expects to continue his career at the University of Connecticut, threw 95 pitches in seven innings and struck out at least one batter in each inning. He retired 18 of the final 19 batters he faced, striking out 14 of those hitters.

“Everything was working,” Schild said. “My velocity was up there and I was able to locate my fastball. I had been struggling with my slider and my curveball, but I had a feel for both (today) and they were going anywhere I wanted them to go.”

Schild’s previous career high for strikeouts was 14 in a victory over Christian Brothers Academy in 2021. He said he believes more great things are to come for him and the Eagles this spring.

“I think (the opening day performance) proves to our team that we can compete with the best and play well against anyone,” he said.

At the plate, Schild, who hit in the leadoff spot, was 1-3 with a walk.

The Eagles gave Schild a lead to work with in the bottom of the third inning on a sacrifice fly from senior Joe Stanzione.

With the Eagles leading 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth, junior Evan Wood came to bat with the bases loaded and one out.

Having struck out with a runner in scoring position in the third inning, Wood made amends as he smacked a two-run single to right field to forge a 3-0 lead.

“It felt so good,” Wood said of his two-run single. “I was a little upset with myself after my second at bat. I was trying to hit the ball hard and get it in the air to get a run in. It felt really good to get that big hit and break the game open.”

Sophomore Louis D’Alessio followed Wood’s hit with an RBI single to push the lead to 4-0.

Joe Bartos ended the outburst with a two-out hit to right field that scored two runs and gave Middletown South a 6-0 lead.

Freshman shortstop Brendan Silva led Middletown South with two hits in his first varsity game.

The Eagles appeared to pick up where they left off in 2021. Even with new players like Silva, D’Alessio, Bartos and senior Ryan St. Clair in the starting lineup, the resiliency and makeup of last year’s state championship team lives on for Coach Chris LeMore.

“Our mindset this year is not that we are rebuilding … we are really just going to reload and go back at it again,” LeMore said. “It is really good for us to get out there and keep our high expectations. Maybe we can do something a little bit better this year than we were able to do last year.”

Middletown South will face Freehold Township again on April 4 before starting a two-game series with Marlboro on April 6.

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