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St. Francis Prep ousted by Iona Prep, 5-2

The varsity baseball season came to a sudden end for the St. Francis Prep Terriers Monday with a 5-2 loss to Iona Prep in the Catholic High School Athletic Association intersectionals. The defeat was the second for the Fresh Meadows team in the double-elimination tournament.

Coached by Brother Robert Kent, the team never got the same kind of production out of its line-up in the playoffs that it had during the regular season. Despite that fact, Prep always seemed to be on the doorstep of busting it open against Iona Monday and Monsignor Farrell last week.

"In both games we lost, we had our opportunities," Kent said. "We could have won big with a couple of hits in both games. But that's baseball, I guess.

"We didn't play our best ball in the playoffs," the coach added. "Things happen I guess, who knows."

In Monday's game, Iona jumped out to a one-run lead in the first inning, but Prep answered right back in the top of the seventh when Nick Theoharis doubled and came around to score on Steve Gioino's two-bagger.

Gioino was also the Terriers' starting pitcher in the game, going the distance while scattering six hits and striking out seven. But with two outs in the second inning, Gioino was touched for four runs that sealed Prep's fate.

A two-out walk to Chris Welsh was followed by Ken Vanacore's ground rule double. Ben Soccodato walked to set up Matt Cucurullo, who singled to score two. After an error by Steve Conley in left, John Fitzpatrick singled home two more runs to make the score 5-1.

"We didn't play that well, but Gioino pitched well," Kent said. "We just couldn't score."

Time and again Prep threatened to score, but each time a different Iona pitcher bailed the team out of trouble. In the fourth, Iona starter Mike Ciccotelli allowed two runners when Billy Zard and gave up a run on Jimmy Spence's grounder.

Zard walked a man with one out in the sixth before Welsh came on and walked two more. Welsh settled down and struck out Brendan Pettei to end the bases loaded threat.

Welsh induced a ground-out by Theoharis with runners on second and third to end the game.

"They gave us all they had all year mentally and physically," Kent said. "I guess it just wasn't meant to be. We just could not get the big hit."

Chris Catalano, Steve Conley, Thomas Greene, Brendan Pettei, Spence and Steve Tuthill all played their final games for St. Francis Monday, with Pettei, Catalano, Greene and Conley representing the Terriers at the CHSAA All-Star Game, to be played Monday at Shea Stadium.

Pettei, Catalano, Greene and Conley will also be playing ball in college, Pettei with SUNY-Binghamton, Catalano and Greene at Albany State and Conley with Hofstra.

Despite these losses, Kent expects to have a solid team next season, with Theoharis, Gioino, Anthony Genna, Sylvester Gutierrez, Brian Forman, Danny Pudjak and pitching ace Brian Morgan all returning to the fold. The Terriers' freshman team lost to Monsignor Farrell in the city finals, 4-3, and Kent expects several of those young players to make the jump to varsity next year.

St. Francis Prep finished this season with a record of 18-9.

Mount St. Michael 4, Archbishop Molloy 2. The Stanners dropped their first game of the double-elimination playoffs Monday, falling to the Mounties, 4-2.

Pitcher Brian Bunyan gave up a first-inning home run to Brendan Mahoney, as Mount cruised to the win over Molloy, which is now forced into an elimination game with Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan rival Christ the King. The winner needs to beat Mount St. Michael twice to reach the CHSAA final.

Christ the King 12, St. Raymond's 8. Offense was not a problem in this Sunday contest, as the two teams combined for 20 runs. The win kept the Royals' chances alive in the double-elimination playoffs, while St. Raymond's was eliminated.

Omari Sanchez wracked up three RBIs for Christ the King, while Dimitri Giannois did just enough on the mound, striking out 14 and picking up the win.

Archbishop Molloy 4, St. Raymond's 3. Brian Bunyan's pinch-hit base hit in the sixth inning drove home John Maser from second, breaking a 303 tie and giving the Stanners the one run they would need to win this first-round contest Saturday.

Pitcher Gary Kaible helped his own cause with an RBI-single, while John Sikiric had a double and two RBIs. Kaible allowed just three hits on the day.

Monsignor Farrell 4, St. Francis Prep 2. The Lions scored three times in the sixth inning to overcome a 2-1 deficit and defeat the St. Francis Prep Terriers Friday in the first round of the CHSAA intersectionals.

Prep pitcher Brian Morgan was again solid, going the distance while scattering six hits, but was victimized by a double, triple, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly in the sixth for three Lions' runs. St. Francis managed only four hits in the loss.

Mount St. Michael 2, Christ the King 0. The Royals were shutout in the opening round Friday, despite loading the bases in the seventh inning when Rafael Castillo flew out to end the game.

Christ the King was held to just three hits, but received a solid effort from starter Ken Gleason, who allowed four hits.

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