Josh Featherman pitched a complete-game 6-0 shutout over Pittston Area at Hilldale Park on Wednesday, April 4.
After narrowly missing a perfect game last week against Crestwood, Featherman allowed just four hits on Wednesday and struck out 11. In 14 scoreless innings, Featherman has 18 strikeouts and zero walks to help the Crusaders (3-0) take an early lead in Division I East of the Wyoming Valley Conference.
Both Coughlin coach Moe Rodzinak and Pittston Area coach Paul Zaffuto talked about maturity when discussing Featherman's impact in 2012.
"I expected him to mature as a senior, but he's matured this much early," Rodzinak said. "I never expected it this fast. He's taken on the role of a leader. For a junior, he's one of the leaders on the team. I'm really happy with him."
Primarily a reliever as a sophomore, Featherman got a spot start against Pittston Area last April at Hilldale, giving up five runs on eight hits while taking the loss.
Zaffuto said he saw a noticeable difference facing Featherman on Wednesday and he made sure to let him know how impressed he was after the game.
"Last year we were in your head and you were easily intimidated," Zaffuto told him. "You were affected by our cheering and our nonsense. But you've matured a lot. There were some college scouts here today and I'm going to talk to them and say I see a matured guy that really worked hard."
"Absolutely," Featherman said of the change from last season. "I felt much stronger coming in this time. Baseball's a big mind game. A lot of odds. You can hit the ball one time and then the next time up you strike out and look horrible. So definitely it's just about working hard."
This time around, Zaffuto said, it was his hitters who were intimidated by Featherman, calling him "one of the better pitchers in the area."
The Crusaders fed off of their pitcher, who spread out the four singles he gave up. Three times he ended an inning with a strikeout with a runner on and a fourth time he got a double play to finish a frame.
At the plate, Joe Parsnik continued a hot start of his own for Coughlin, finishing 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBI. The first double made it 2-0 in the fifth to give the Crusaders some breathing room. The second knocked in two more runs in the sixth to put the game away.
Josh Razvillas had two hits of his own to lead the Patriots (2-1). Five of the six runs against pitchers Chuck Bressler and Michael Schwab were unearned.
The Patriots defeated Naticoke 17-4 on Monday, April 2.
Razvillas drove in four runs and Anthony Schwab (double) finished with three.