MONMOUTH — Monmouth senior pitcher Nate Gagne was about as close to perfect as it gets on Wednesday against Hall-Dale.

How close? With two outs in the seventh inning, Hall-Dale sophomore Ryan Sinclair broke up Gagne’s perfect game with a solid single up the middle. Brian Allen followed with an infield hit before Gagne closed out his gem to give the unbeaten Mustangs a 6-0 victory.

Gagne has started all five games for the Mustangs but Wednesday’s was the first he’s finished. Because the Mustangs are loaded with quality arms, Gagne has pitched the first three innings of each game before giving way to someone else, usually Kyle Fletcher. Wednesday, he was going so well, it was tough to take him out.

“He came out of the bullpen and said ‘I feel good today,’ ” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said.

Palleschi checked with Gagne in each inning after the third to see if he wanted to continue.

“After the sixth he said ‘I’m finishing it,’ ” Palleschi said. “He didn’t even ask.”


Gagne’s sidearm delivery is tough on right-handed batters and it was doubly difficult because his control was spot on. He finished with eight strikeouts and only went to two three-ball counts in throwing 80 pitches.

“My fastball was working pretty good,” Gagne said. “And my two-seamer was working really good.”

Added catcher Phil Rowe: “He’s got a wicked tough sidearm (delivery). It comes in weird.”

The Mustangs scored single runs off Hall-Dale (4-4) starter Bobby Cumler in the first, second and fifth, and three runs off Allen in the sixth. They let Cumler off the hook in the second and third innings after loading the bases.

“I thought he got a little stronger as the game went on,” Hall-Dale coach Bob Sinclair said. “I’m pleased. I think he’s rounded the corner now.”

Sacrifice flies from Alex Curtis and Rowe accounted for runs in the first and fifth while Brandon Goff singled home a run in the second. Fletcher’s triple in the sixth scored two runs.


Gagne (4-0) breezed through the first three innings, striking out six of the nine batters he faced. Jariah Caissie handled three ground balls at third to that point then came up with a gem against Sinclair to end the fourth, as he backhanded a hard shot and threw him out by a step. Shortstop Hunter Richardson added a nice play to end the sixth on a slow roller by Alex McPherson. Gagne induced two routine ground balls to open the seventh before Sinclair took his first pitch through the middle.

“It was right down the middle and high,” said Sinclair, who broke up a no-hitter against Dirigo last week in the final inning. “I was just trying to be aggressive.”

Allen’s ground ball tipped off Gagne’s glove and bounced to D.J. McHugh at second. Allen beat the throw by half a step.

With six or seven experienced pitchers on his team, Palleschi plans to use as many as he can throughout the season.

“The game will dictate what we do,” he said. “We’ve got arms and we might as well use them.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638 | | Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ

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