By Phil Anastasia
Six batters into the first start of his final high school season, Delsea's Nick Freijomil was behind by a 2-0 score.
In the dugout, Delsea coach Tom Carney looked at his ace right-hander.
He liked what he saw.
"He didn't flinch," Carney said of Freijomil. "That's senior leadership."
Freijomil didn't get the win as Delsea rallied in dramatic fashion for a 3-2 victory over Williamstown on Wednesday in the season opener for the Tri-County Conference Royal Division rivals.
But the 6-foot-4 pitcher, a Long Island University recruit, set the stage for the Crusaders' late-game heroics by shutting down the Braves' potent lineup after the first inning.
"That inning always seem like it's my roughest," Freijomil said. "I just wanted to settle down and try to keep us in the game. I was confident we could battle back."
On a cold, windy afternoon at Walt Serad Field, Freijomil and Williamstown senior John Brady engaged in a pitching duel that seemed more suited for the middle of May than the beginning of April.
After allowing those two first-inning runs, both of which were unearned, Freijomil mixed a live fastball with an effective change-up and held the Braves scoreless over the next five frames.
Freijomil worked six innings, striking out four. He faced just 18 batters in his final five innings.
"Nicky kept us in the game," Carney said after the Crusaders seized high ground in what should be a tight race in the Tri-County Royal.
Brady, who will be a preferred walk-on at George Washington, was even more impressive through the first six innings. He entered the bottom of the seventh with a two-hitter with six strikeouts, having retired 16 of the previous 18 batters.
Brady, a right-hander who mixed his fastball with a sharp curve, got strikeout No. 7 for the first out of the seventh.
But with his team two outs away from a 2-1 loss, Delsea junior Christian Cortese slashed an opposite-field double down the left-field line and sophomore Joe Brewin followed with a sharp single to put runners on first and third.
Brewin stole second without a throw. Sophomore Greg Avis drove in the tying run with a ground out, bringing junior left-fielder Adin Kolansky to the plate.
"I tried to prepare myself because I thought it might come down to me," Kolansky said. "I was wanted to try to be ready to come through in a big spot."
With the count at 2-2, Kolansky slashed an opposite-field single through the hole on the right side, scoring Brewin with the winning run.
"I got goose-bumps," Kolansky said of the moment.
Freijomil said the victory could set the tone for the Crusaders' season.
"It's a huge win, big rival, we love these kinds of games," Freijomil said. "It's just one game but it's great to start the season this way."
Williamstown 200 000 0 -- 2 6 0
Delsea 100 000 2 -- 3 5 1
WP: Jon Cosenza. LP: John Brady.
2B: D-Christian Cortese.
3B: W-John Brady.
Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.