Nellis throws no-hitter for Sir Bills

BROADALBIN – It was not the prettiest of games, but Joe Nellis and the Johnstown Sir Bills will take it.

Nellis, who was hospitalized a week ago, threw a no-hitter and smashed a grand slam as the Sir Bills made the most of nine Broadalbin-Perth errors to take home an 11-1 Foothills Council victory Monday at Broadalbin-Perth High School.

“It should have been a close game,” Johnstown coach Aaron Mraz said. “They gave us some gifts and we took advantage of them, but that is what you have to do. Kudos to Joey, he was in control on the mound right from the start. His stuff was working well. He had a full week off because he was out last week being in the hospital, so he was fresh. He is a competitor, and any coach would love to have him on the team. He has a good future ahead of him.”

Through the first three innings of Monday’s game Nellis and B-P start Anthony Visco were getting the job done on the mound. Both pitchers had six strikeouts but were hampered by three errors committed behind them.

Johnstown capitalized on an error in the top of the third after taking a 1-0 lead off back-to-back singles by Richie Lee and Matt Szurek. Nellis and Adam Caputo drew walks to load the bases before Connor Rodecker lifted a high fly ball to left field. Patriots’ left fielder Luigi Magliocca could not control the ball and, with the runners going on the play, three runs crossed the plate. The patriots recovered quickly to get Rodecker at the plate to end the inning, but trailed 4-0.

The Sir Bills gave a run back to B-P in the bottom of the third when, with two out, Noah Martin reached on an error and advanced on a wild pitch. He came around to score on the Sir Bills’ second error in the inning to cut the lead to 4-1.

Another B-P error lead to the Sir Bills’ fifth run in the top of the fourth with Lee picking up the RBI with a triple.

The Sir Bills came through again in the top of the fifth when Nellis led off with a double and Caputo followed with a ground-rule double to extend the lead to 6-1. Caputo came around to score on a dropped third strike and throwing error to up the lead to 7-1.

Visco remained in control on the mound, striking out the next three batters to get out of the inning and have a four-strikeout inning.

Mike Visco came on for the Patriots in the top of the sixth but loaded the bases with a pair of walks and an error.

Visco fell behind Nellis 3-0 before battling back with a pair of called strikes. Nellis fouled off a pair of pitches before driving the eighth pitch of the at-bat over the center field fence for a grand slam and the 11-1 final score.

Nellis finished the game with 12 strikeouts on the mound, a grand slam, double and four RBIs, while Lee went 3-for-5 at the plate with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored.

Anthony Visco finished the game with 10 strikeouts in five innings of work on the mound for the Patriots. Mike Visco and Martin struck out two apiece for 14 Johnstown strikeouts in the game.

“Tough day in the field for everybody,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Dan Simonds said. “It is going to happen once in a while. It is a good thing we have four games this week. That is one thing about baseball you get to come back and play tomorrow.”

For the Patriots, that means a road trip to Cooperstown today for their traditional non-league game against Warrensburg at Doubleday Field.

“Cooperstown was about this time last year and we came off a real tough stretch where we lost like six games in a row,” Simonds said. “Then we won at Cooperstown, came back home with some life and had a nice little run. We are looking at it as a springboard to finish the season with a little more vigor.”

Johnstown will face Mekeel Christian under the lights at Johnstown High School tonight before returning to Foothills Council play with a big home-and-home series with Scotia-Glenville.

Johnstown 11, Broadalbin-Perth 1

Johnstown004 124 0 – 11 7 4

Broadalbin-Perth001 000 0 – 1 0 9

Nellis and Caputo; A. Visco, M. Visco (6), Martin (7) and Gordon.