By Phil Anastasia
Jon Mackie hit the first batter. He hit the third batter, too.
The fourth one rapped a single.
"In the beginning, I hit a little bump," said Mackie, a Holy Cross senior pitcher.
A little more than two hours later, Mackie made a diving catch of a foul pop for the final out, capping one of the best performances of his career.
Mackie, a right-hander, fired a one-hitter with seven strikeouts as visiting Holy Cross beat Delran, 2-0, Tuesday in a clash of Burlco Patriot and cross-town rivals.
"He was oustanding," Holy Cross coach Steve Paolini said of Mackie. "He seemed to get stronger as the game went along."
Jim Hoff doubled and scored in the first and Collin Stringham delivered an RBI single in the fifth for Holy Cross (3-1 overall, 1-0 in the division).
Senior left-hander Zack Youngberg pitched a complete game for Delran (3-3, 1-1), striking out four and picking off three runners. Both Holy Cross runs were unearned.
"We have to learn to play in games like this and win them," Delran coach Rich Bender said. "This was like playing in a state tournament game. We have to take this and make progress."
Mackie, who plans to continue his baseball career at Widener University, mixed a live fastball with a sharp curve. He escaped trouble in the first when second baseman Dom Gallone and shortstop Steve Paolini combined for an inning-ending double play.
"That was huge," Mackie said.
Mackie took care of the rest. He retired 19 of the final 23 batters. He struck out four in the final three innings, including two in the seventh.
"I found my curveball and found my fastball," Mackie said.
Delran put two runners on base on a walk and hit batter with two outs in the seventh. Holy Cross had two relievers warming up.
"I knew there was no way he wanted to come out of the game," Paolini said of Mackie. "If I tried, he probably would have punched me."
Mackie ended the game with a diving catch on the foul side of the first-base line, right in front of the Holy Cross dugout.
He pumped his arm in celebration, a rare show of emotion for a pitcher who had played it cool for seven innings.
"I got excited," Mackie said. "I thought he (Paolini) was going to take me out and I wanted to finish. We always love to beat Delran."
Holy Cross 100 010 0 -- 2 7 0
Delran 000 000 0 -- 0 1 5
WP: Jon Mackie. LP: Zack Youngberg.
2B: HC-Jim Hoff, James Papeika.
Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.