MOUNT UNION - Mount Union's Darrian Stapleton took the mound against Moshannon Valley Thursday just looking for a win. He gave Mount Union a little more than that.
Not to be outdone by an outburst from the Trojan offense, Stapleton fired a perfect game through his five innings of work. The Trojan righty blazed through the Black Knight lineup all afternoon en route to a 12-0 win in the Inter-County Conference matchup.
"I had my fastball working today," he said.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY?KREITZER
Mount Union pitcher Darrian Stapleton delivers a pitch against Moshannon Valley Thursday afternoon in Mount Union. Stapleton pitched a five-inning perfect game in a 12-0 Mount Union win. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com.
Indeed he did. The freshman faced the minimum of 15 batters in the game and struck out seven. Stapleton allowed one ball to clear the infield, a fly out to center.
"He did an outstanding job," Mount Union coach Nick Imperioli said. "He's such a good kid, he deserved it."
The Mount Union offense tried to overshadow Stapleton's accomplishments on the mound. Backed by a 5-run first and second inning, Stapleton was able to do his thing.
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Brandon Rogers belted a two-run bomb in the second inning to go along with Klayton Heffner's pair of RBIs. Although it was an offensive explosion for the Trojans, this was the first game of the season that Imperioli's squad did not commit an error.
"Can you believe it?" he laughed. "We actually played a game with no errors. Tomorrow is another day though."
The offense was clicking from jump street against Moshannon Valley pitcher Kent Stewart.
Boomer Brown's lead off, first-pitch triple set the tone for the entire game. The Trojan batters were waiting for their pitch and when they got it, they drove it.
Two runs came across for the Trojans in the first via passed balls from the Black Knights. Heffner picked up his first RBI of the game with a chop single. Then Rogers grounded into a fielder's choice that drove in the next to make it 5-0 after the Trojan half of the first.
Mount Union scored five in the inning on five hits, much to the liking of Imperioli, who now has 693 wins under his belt in his 39th season.
"Boomer started us off and we hit the ball and did what we had to do quickly," he said.
After the Trojans brought all nine batters to the plate in the first inning, they sent another eight in the second.
Brown and Thad Wakefield started the inning with back-to-back singles. With one out, Trevon Walker hit a screamer to right that was misplayed by the Moshannon Valley right fielder. Brown and Wakefield scored while Walker slid safely into third.
Heffner then dug in with two outs and singled to drive home Walker. That set up Rogers' moon shot to left to plate the fourth and fifth runs of the inning.
"Rogers had a good game and that home run set us up," he said. "We have an outstanding catcher in Boomer and this kid just really helps his pitchers and he's a good hitter."
It's safe to say Stapleton felt comfortable with his 10-run cushion. He struck out the side in the first and induced three soft ground outs in the second. In the third, he sent the first two hitters back to the dugout on a total of seven pitches before getting the third on a pop out.
In the final two innings, Moshannan Valley hit the ball harder than it had all afternoon. But it was the final inning where Mount Union made its defensive plays count.
Stewart sent a hot shot to third where Rogers stretched to his left to make a great grab on the line drive. Rogers then fielded the final out with a low throw to first that Ryan McClain picked out of the dirt to seal the perfect game.
"He was just terrific," Imperioli said of Stapleton. "There's not much you can say. The kid was just throwing strikes and that's what he's been doing all year."
Mount Union had no errors on the day and Stapleton didn't commit a walk. It pounded out 11 hits and 14 Trojan players entered the game.
Mount Union has one regular season conference game remaining, which will be played today, with Juniata Valley coming into town. Its final game of the season is with Huntingdon Tuesday at Juniata College.