AFSA Classic in The Beacon News

July 15, 2007

Aurora, IL

Reprinted with permission From Aurora's The Beacon News

Decker and Potolichio lead Dolan & Murphy to victory against Thomson Merchants

July 14, 2007
By John Sahly staff writer

After the first two pitches of his second inning at-bat, Dolan and
Murphy catcher Camden Decker didn't look like he would come close to
making contact with the ball, let alone hit it out of the park.

Thomson Merchants' starting pitcher, Steve Manson, had already put a
fastball by Decker, and then followed it up with a changeup that
Decker was so early on he could have been able to get off a second
swing at the ball. Given the way the first two pitches went, that
might have been strike three.

It left Decker frustrated with himself, especially against a pitcher
he said he knew he could get a hit against.

But down two strikes, Decker adjusted and shortened his swing. Two
pitches later, he rounded the bases in a home run trot in Dolan and
Murphy's 6-0 win against Thomson in the first game of the AFSA Classic
on Friday night at Stuart Sports Complex.

"I kind of just found it and just tried to go with the pitch," said
Decker of his home run. "I didn't think it was going out when I first
hit it."

It did go out, past the left-center field fence, and the shot helped
the Aurora team earn its first victory in the tournament.

"It's really good to get out to this kind of start," Decker said. "We
knew we were playing kind of a weaker team in this game and we were
hoping to end it in five innings, but we'll take this."

Manson, to his credit, limited the Shamrocks to seven hits and struck
out five but walked three batters. More importantly, he couldn't hold
Dolan and Murphy once the Shamrocks got men on base, where they scored
two runs in the fourth to break the game open.

Decker's work behind the plate was noteworthy as well. He caught
starting pitcher Juan Potolichio, who dominated Thomson with a
complete-game shutout and struck out 11 while he allowed only five

Three of the hits Potolichio allowed came in the first two innings,
when Potolichio said he was throwing "junk" pitches and was admittedly
trying to experiment with his curveball, changeup and drop ball.

But Potolichio settled into a groove when he started throwing more
fastballs and risers, and Thomson couldn't adjust to the right-hander.
Potolichio struck out seven batters and allowed only two hits in his
final four innings.

"I think the plan was to get stronger with every inning and every
batter," Potolichio said. "And I felt like I was able to do that
tonight pretty well."

Potolichio credited Decker with his ability to mix pitches effectively.

"He's real good with calling games," Potolichio said. "Camden's a
young guy but he really knows the game and how to do things the right
way and it makes my job a lot easier."

The tournament continues today, with Dolan and Murphy playing its
third and final pool play game at 3 p.m. against Benton Harbor
Plangger's. If the Shamrocks finish second or third in pool play,
they'll play again at 7 p.m. in the first playoff game. If they finish
first or fourth, they'll play in Sunday morning's playoff game.


Best regards,
Jim Flanagan
Email: jim (at) fastpitchwest.com

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