By Phil Anastasia
Denny Brady didn't mind being the Other Pitcher.
He knew the dozen or so scouts gathered behind the backstop at Buena High School on Tuesday were there to see Lower Cape May senior right-hander Josh Pennington, who lit up the radar guns with a 94 mph fastball in the first inning.
Brady put on a show, too, pitching a three-hitter and striking out a career-high 18 in eight innings in Buena's 3-2 victory over Lower Cape May in a brisk Cape-Atlantic League clash.
"I knew I had to throw every pitch with a purpose," said Brady, a junior right-hander. "It was a great feeling to be involved in a game like that. I knew it would be a pitcher's game."
Pennington, who has signed with St. John's but could be a high-round selection in June's major-league draft, went seven strong innings. He still was hitting 91 mph on the thicket of radar guns with some of his final pitches.
Pennington allowed six hits and two runs, one earned. He threw 114 pitches, striking out 11 with three walks.
"I felt like I threw pretty well after I settled down," said Pennington, who did not factor in the decision.
Pennington was upset because his throwing error on a pick-off attempt with runners on first and third and two out in the sixth inning allowed Buena to tie the score at 2-2.
"I have to apologize to my team for that," the 6-foot Pennington said. "I should have just stepped off (the rubber) and not thrown it."
Pennington said he enjoyed pitching in front of scouts.
"I was throwing in front of a lot of scouts in the summer so I'm kind of used to it," Pennington said. "The draft's getting closer so you get a little nervous. But I live for this."
Brady's best fastball touched 88 mph on a radar gun. He was sitting around 85-86 mph but showed great command of both his fastball and cutter.
"My spotting was good," the 6-foot Brady (pictured) said of his control.
Lower Cape May took a 2-1 lead on a bizarre play in the sixth. With two outs and runners on second and third, one of Brady's pitches got away from Buena catcher George DiBiase.
Brady covered home, took a throw from DiBiase and thought he had recorded the third out on a tag play. He was so convinced he rolled the ball to the mound, assuming the inning was over.
But the umpire called the runner safe, and Pennington raced home from second on a heads-up play.
"I'm glad we didn't lose the game on that play," Buena coach Harry Grose said.
Buena pushed across the winning run against a Lower Cape reliever in the eighth inning. Brady started the rally with a single, and Andrew Cartier was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for the walk-off RBI.
Brady, who has committed to East Carolina, threw 112 pitches, 79 for strikes. He threw strikes on 15 of 16 pitches in the first inning. He struck out at least two hitters in every inning.
"He's a great pitcher with a great future ahead of him," Pennington said of Brady.
Lower Cape May 000 002 00 -- 2 3 1
Buena 010 001 01 -- 3 7 2
WP: Denny Brady. LP: Eric Goss.
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