Division I Team Of The Week: Week 5 - Mason
May 3, 2022
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Division I Team Of The Week: Week 5 - Mason
MASON - To say Mason head coach Curt Bly has been thrilled with the pitching of his team is an understatement.
“Our starting pitching has been very good,” said the coach of Prep Baseball Report’s Division I Team of the Week. “It’s been more than very good. The top three all have an ERA under 2.00, with one under 1.00. All of their WHIPs are under 1.00. We gave up three runs total last week.”
Those runs all came in the same game, a 4-3 win over Lakota East to remain in first place in the Greater Miami Conference. Other wins were 6-0 and 11-0 over Colerain and a 14-0 blanking of Oak Hills, the second-place team in the GMC.
Georgia Tech commit Noah Samol and Cincinnati recruit Brenden Garula, a pair of left-handers, are joined at the top of the rotation by Michael Murphy, the seventh-rated junior right-handed pitcher in Ohio. Samol is 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA, striking out 45 in 22.1 innings. Garula is 5-0 with a 1.99 ERA, fanning 50 in 31.2 frames with Murphy 3-0 and a 0.67 ERA, recording 31 Ks in 21 innings.
“When those three go out to the mound you know you have a chance if you play clean baseball behind them and execute offensively,” pointed out Bly, whose team also owns a win over Walsh Jesuit in a 15-3 start to the regular season. “It takes everybody. There are a lot of moving parts, we don’t have a set nine that goes out there every day.”
Junior shortstop Andrew Cox, an Ohio University commit, is injured and sophomore Anthony Sulek has stepped in at short. Junior Sean Krueckeberg is another that has filled in admirably in the outfield, according to Bly.
“We have guys that contribute one day and then different guys that contribute the next day,” Bly said.
One constant has been catcher Brady Bly, the head coach’s son who is committed to Charleston.
“Brady’s had an impact for us at catcher handling all our pitchers,” the Mason mentor related about the senior backstop.
The trio of Garula, Murphy and Jake Hanley, the top-rated sophomore first baseman in the country, lead the way at the plate. Garula is batting .390 with three home runs, 12 RBIs, 15 runs and six stolen bases with Murphy, who had a walk-off hit against Lakota East, at .361 along with two homers, 19 RBIs and 10 runs scored. Hanley also has two home runs with 13 RBIs, 13 runs and a .353 average.
Bly has the top batting average at .444 with Cox hitting .438. A.J. Lefton and Krueckeberg are others batting better than .300 at .333 and .304, respectively.
“There’s comfort in putting ‘the’ nine in, but with this team and the way we’re winning it’s about playing clean defense behind our pitching and scratching for four or five runs,” Bly said. “It’s good that every day guys know they have a job to do.”
The challenges ahead are enormous with another handful of GMC games to play before stiff competition begins with Division I sectionals in the Cincinnati area.
“One and done in baseball is why there are a lot of upsets according to people on the outside,” Bly explained. “But if you have a good arm anything can happen.
“For us it’s about handling the expectations, being able to win close games and not make the crucial mistake in that big moment. If we make the routine plays behind Samol, Brenden and Murphy, we have a chance to beat anybody.”
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