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Baseball: DiMola's complete-game gem leads North to win over Central
North Forsyth's Anthony DiMola delivers a pitch against Forsyth Central on March 18, 2019 at North Forsyth High School. - photo by David Almeda

Anthony DiMola’s pitching motion was working well for him against Forsyth Central on Monday, even if it had brought painful consequences.

It was powerful enough to make his hat fly off a couple of times, and it was certainly good enough to stymie the Bulldogs’ batting order on Monday night, with no runs and two hits allowed through three innings. But in the fourth, DiMola tried to throw a pitch especially hard, and his follow through came down a little too much, scraping a knuckle on the ground. It began to bleed, and DiMola sucked on the wound and grimaced in pain as the coaches checked on him. He was left in, but the discomfort didn’t immediately dissipate.

“At the beginning, the ball was slipping a little bit,” DiMola said. “It was just hard to control it and couldn't put too much pressure on it.”

After cleaning it up and putting some rosin on it, the wound didn’t bother him for too much longer. He ultimately completed an 11-strikeout, complete-game effort to come out on top of a pitchers’ duel against Central's Mitchell Gross, leading the Raiders to a 3-0 region win.

North Forsyth's Holton Payne is congratulated by teammates after crossing the plate against Forsyth Central on Monday, March 18, 2019 at North Forsyth High School. - photo by David Almeda
“It was a great high school game and a great pitchers' duel,” North Forsyth coach Jim Cahill said. “Their kid did an outstanding job, and our kid did a little bit better.  (DiMola) had command of all his pitches tonight. His velocity was good. It was as hard as he's thrown all year, and he was in the zone, I guess you could say.”

DiMola got all the run support he needed during the Raiders’ first time through the order. With two outs, Holton Payne doubled to bring in Justice Bailey, and one play later, a throwing error at second allowed Payne to come across to give North a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

The Raiders didn’t get anyone else across the plate until the bottom of the sixth, when Preston Hedelius knocked another run in with a hard-hit ball to third. Gross settled in nicely after the shaky first, ending his night with eight strikeouts and allowing just four hits over five frames. DiMola, meanwhile, was just as locked in – he didn’t allow a baserunner until the third.

Forsyth Central's Mitchell Gross throws a pitch against North Forsyth on Monday, March 18, 2019. - photo by David Almeda

“I was able to hit my spot a lot with my fastballs,” DiMola said. “(I'd) elevate the fastball and they'd swing at it. Every time they hit it, I'd missed my spot -- I'd thrown a fastball down the middle or a changeup down the middle. But when I hit my spots with all my pitches, they weren't hitting it.”

One of those hits came with no outs in the sixth, when Chase Hillenbrand reached third on a double and an error in left. It was one of Central's best chances to score, but third base was as far as he got, with DiMola sitting down the next three.

“You've got to swing at strikes,” Central coach Kevin McCollum said. “We saw a lot of fastballs go down the chute and we ended up swinging at a lot of balls out of the zone with two strikes. We have to do a better job on that.”

With the win, North improved to 9-7 overall and 2-3 in Region 5-7A. Central dropped to 7-5, 3-2.