By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Another strong pitching performance has the McAuley Warriors one win away from a district title.
A day after McAuley’s Anthony Bertoncino pitched a two-hit shutout to beat Exeter, the Warriors’ Shaw Robertson fanned 13 batters and allowed three hits in a 5-1 win over eighth-ranked Hurley on Tuesday at Wendell Redden Stadium.
McAuley will face Golden City at 4 p.m. today at Wendell Redden for the Class 1 District 6 championship.
“He’s just been impressive all year long,” McAuley coach Jason McVey said of Shaw Robertson. “I think that puts his strikeout total to 115 this year, and he’s pitched under 50 innings. He had a rough first couple games out, but he’s found his stride again and he’s back to his normal self.”
The top of McAuley’s batting order helped Robertson’s cause with four consecutive hits in the top of the third. Nick Wear hit a two-out single before Robertson singled to center to put runners on the corners.
Bertoncino followed with another single to center to score Wear. Hurley Tigers center fielder Jacob McClendon misplayed the ball, allowing Robertson to score as well. As Hurley attempted to throw Robertson out at the plate, Bertoncino went to second. Tigers pitcher Tyler Simpson threw to second, but the ball landed ended up in the outfield and Bertoncino scored to give McAuley a 3-0 lead. With the bases cleared, Trey Melton singled to right for McAuley’s fourth consecutive hit.
“Getting on them early with the 3-0 lead going into the fourth inning was huge,” McVey said. “Once we got them down, they kind of started hanging their heads a little.”
McAuley added two runs in the top of the fifth to take a 5-0 lead.
Robertson rolled through the first four innings without allowing a hit. He battled adversity in the bottom of the fifth after Hurley’s Justice Jones, Preston Gamble and George Hoyt recorded consecutive singles to cut the lead to 5-1. Robertson responded by striking out Hurley’s No. 2 and No. 3 hitters — McClendon and Layton Fortney — to end the inning.
“My arm felt pretty good and everybody was just playing together and making plays,” Robertson said. “I was able to locate pretty well today.”
Now, the Warriors must put together one more strong outing on the mound to reach the state tournament. Under tournament pitching limitations, Bertoncino and Robertson can pitch only three more innings each.
McVey said he plans to start Bertoncino, then use a combination of Melton and Robertson for the rest.
Golden City advanced to the championship by beating Greenfield 5-4 in eight innings.