ENCINITAS Some pitchers win by throwing fastballs in the mid-90s.
Gabe Coffidis’ fastball wouldn’t get a speeding ticket on the freeway.
But the San Dieguito Academy left-hander handcuffed Mission Hills, allowing eight hits while escaping with a 5-1 Avocado East League baseball win Wednesday.
“I don’t have the best fastball,” the 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior said after his first varsity win.
“I was clocked at 72 earlier in the season. I might be up to 75 now. I try to take a long stride, so I release the ball closer to the plate, so my fastball looks faster.”
With a funky delivery that is all elbows and kneecaps, Coffidis had Mission Hills (6-7, 1-1), last year’s San Diego Section Division II champion, off balance all game.
He got eight fly-ball outs with only one hit hard. He struck out two, walked two and got 10 outs on ground balls.
Two of those ground-ball outs came on a double play in the seventh after the first two Grizzlies reached base.
“That was huge,” said San Dieguito coach Brendan Boitano. “That double play and the three runs we got in the sixth made it easier for me to leave Gabe out there.
“He’s really very effective. He throws under the speed limit, but he hits spots. He doesn’t walk people.
“Soft throwers, who throw strikes, can be very effective against good teams.”
The Mustangs (4-8, 1-1) were loaded last year, finishing 27-9 with a pitching staff that sent two players to college teams.
So Coffidis pitched on the frosh-soph squad.
“But he got himself into better shape, and I think you see the results,” Boitano said.
Zac Cohen drove in two runs for the Mustangs while David Martinez and Nate Glass drove in runs in a two-run fourth.
San Dieguito has four one-run losses this season, including 2-1 to Mission Hills on Monday.
The Mustangs also have lost to No. 6 Carlsbad twice, No. 2 Rancho Bernardo and Temecula Valley, one of the top teams in Southern California.
“We’ve played a brutally tough schedule,” Boitano said. “I hope this win is something we can build on.”