Updated April 6, 2023 - 11:17 pm
Bishop Gorman’s Easton Shelton just missed a home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
He didn’t miss on his next opportunity.
Shelton hit a solo home run over the right-field fence leading off the bottom of the ninth to give the Gaels, No. 2 in the Review-Journal’s Class 5A rankings, a 1-0 win over visiting and top-ranked Basic in the championship game of the All Faiths Classic on Thursday.
“I knew if someone could do it, it was Easton Shelton,” senior pitcher Kamdyn Perry said. “So when he hit that ball I knew it was gone, and everyone was running out of the dugout and we just knew.”
Perry held his head in disbelief after the run came across the plate, making him a winner. He pitched a gem, going the distance and allowing just four hits. He struck out nine and walked one.
“I was like, ‘No way. We finally did it,’” Perry said of Shelton’s home run. “Nine innings is crazy. I’ve never gone that long.”
Perry was in command from the start, throwing first-pitch strikes to 24 of 31 batters for Gorman (16-2). He needed 103 pitches in the complete game, throwing 77 strikes.
“He was on his game tonight,” Gorman coach Chris Sheff said. “You don’t see too many kids go nine innings in high school. And he just commanded the zone and was ahead and able to use both pitches. Just a dominant performance, and I’m proud for him.”
Perry allowed three infield singles and a slow roller through the right side to Basic (16-3).
“I felt amazing,” Perry said. “I’ve been telling myself I just need to throw everything as hard as I can, and I did that tonight and everything felt perfect for me. Everything went perfect for me. And it was just amazing. I’m going to do it again. I promise.”
Gorman had opportunities to take the lead earlier in the game but failed to take advantage.
The Gaels loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth on singles by Gunnar Myro and Billy Scaldeferri and an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt. But Basic starter Josh Higgins struck out Anthony Marnell and got Colton Boardman to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Gaels got back-to-back singles from Maddox Riske and Aiden Pollock to start the sixth. But Shelton’s deep fly ball was caught on the warning track in left, and reliever Ty Southisene came on and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
“He had a good swing in the sixth and unfortunately didn’t move runners for us,” Sheff said of Shelton. “The ball was probably a foot away from being a three-run homer. We had some quality at-bats. We had some chances to take the lead and didn’t do it.”
The win was especially sweet for the Gaels, who lost to Basic four times in the playoffs last season as the Wolves captured the 5A Southern Region and state titles.
“It was very special,” Perry said. “For all of us, that’s a game we wanted, and that’s what we got, and we did our jobs.”
And Sheff figures the Gaels haven’t seen the last of Basic.
“I think it’s important that they understand that they can beat this club,” Sheff said. “But the road still goes through them. They know how to win, and we got them tonight, but we’re going to probably have to run through them again at some point.”