If ever there is such a thing as a good loss, the Bishop Ludden baseball team experienced it on April 7, falling 8-3 to East Syracuse-Minoa, its first regular-season defeat since 2009.
"It (the loss) got us fired up, and we wanted to show what we were made of," said junior pitcher Ryan O'Kane.
Determined to resume its diamond dominance, the Gaelic Knights returned to the field Monday afternoon at Christian Brothers Academy - and merely saw O'Kane pitch a no-hitter in a 13-0 romp over the Brothers.
This revival of the "Holy War" rivalry was made possible by Ludden's move from Class B to Class A - and into the OHSL Freedom division, where CBA has resided for several years. Needless to say, the Brothers caught the Gaelic Knights at the wrong time, mostly thanks to O'Kane's mound artistry.
The junior right-hander allowed just two runners to reach base - one in the second inning on an error, the other on a walk in the fifth. Otherwise, O'Kane silenced the CBA bats, using a wide variety of pitches to record 10 strikeouts.
What helped O'Kane relax was the way his Ludden teammates tore up the Brothers' top hurler, Luke Alletzhauser. Chris Davis twice struck for home runs early, hitting a line-drive two-run shot in the top of the first inning, then leading off the third with a solo blast deep to the opposite field.
It didn't stop there, either, as James Murray and Ciro Frontale both went deep in the top of the fourth off Tim Corapi, expanding Ludden's lead to 9-0. Now the only question was whether O'Kane (who amassed three of his own hits, including a double) could maintain his gem the rest of the way.
Through four innings, O'Kane had nine strikeouts, but Ludden's defense had to make all the plays in the next two frames. None was bigger than Mike DePalma's diving catch in right field to close out the sixth. A 1-2-3 seventh followed, O'Kane getting Riley Dixon on a called third strike to finish his no-hitter.