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Fast start carries Cross over McClancy

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Lead-off man Chris...

By Anthony Bosco

The Holy Cross Knights wasted little time in jumping on the Monsignor McClancy Crusaders and starter Jason Radilicki Monday, capitalizing on several key errors, timely hitting and some less-than-perfect pitching en route to a 10-2 win.

Lead-off man Chris Cialone reached on an error for the Knights in the first and, after Kevin O’Neill and John Munoz were retired, Radilicki surrendered a single by Rudy Mejia, scoring Cialone, who had stolen second and third. Chris Duffy, Frank Terzo and James Kosky all walked, bringing home Mejia to make the score 2-0.

James Purcell then stepped to the plate with the bases jammed and laced a two-out triple that cleared the bases, making the score 5-0.

The game was only the second one this season for Holy Cross head coach Kurt Schaffner, who was sidelined for most of the preseason because of illness. The 2001 Knights raised their mark to 2-0 in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan with the win — and a 9-3 victory over St. Edmund earlier in the week — and look to be right in the middle of the pack this year.

“We’re going to be pitching by committee,” Schaffner said of his team, which boasts several impressive hurlers, including sophomore Brett Swiatocha. “We’ll be hitting by committee also.”

The Knights had plenty of both Monday. Starting pitcher Michael Morris shut down McClancy from the outset. What trouble he did get into early was eradicated by some fine defensive play.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Crusaders threatened with two outs when Marty Noer singled to left-center, followed by a Peter Massaro walk. With runners on first and second, Anthony Russo singled to right, where the ball was fielded cleanly by Mejia, who fired a strike to Munoz at the plate to nail the lead runner at the plate, ending the inning.

A base hit by Mejia and a one-out walk by O’Neill against McClancy reliever Julio Qunitero brought Cialone to the plate in the fourth, who promptly laced a single to score the lead runner. McClancy coach Nick Melito brought in reliever Pete Massaro, who surrendered a single to right by Munoz to make the score 7-0. Duffy bounced into a 6-3 double play with runners on the corners to end the inning.

The Crusaders finally broke through on Morris in the bottom of the inning when centerfielder Joe Toledo singled, designated hitter Marty Noer walked and catcher Ricky Calavita reached on an error to load the bases. Following back-to-back strikeouts by the pitcher, McClancy shortstop David Copella walked to drive home the first run. Leftfielder Sammy Maldonado’s infield single — just past Morris on the first base side — scored the Crusaders’ next run before Morris fanned Jonathan Russnak to end the inning.

The Knights got both runs back in the top of the fifth when Terzo, Kosky and Purcell singled to load the bases, setting up Mejia’s sacrifice fly to center, scoring Terzo. Cialone doubled to left, scoring two, to make the score 10-2 and put the game out of reach.

Schaffner brought in Swiatocha to work the fifth and sixth, allowing just one hit, a long double to Toledo, but that would be as close as McClancy would get.

The Knights nearly scored another run in the sixth when Mejia reached on an error by Russo with two outs, bringing up Kosky, who ripped a triple over Toledo’s head in center field. Both runners appeared safe at the play’s conclusion, but Melito had Massaro appeal at third base and Mejia was called out for failing to touch the bag before reaching home, ending the inning.

The Crusaders went in order in the seventh to end the game.

St. Francis Prep 10, McClancy 2. Michael Aglioloro has two hits and two RBIs for St. Francis, which got a stellar outing from starter Danny Pudjak, who allowed only three hits while going the distance. Prep improved to 1-1 with the win.

Cathedral 6, Nazareth 5. Danny Barvells went the distance for the win. Vinny Johnson hit a solo home run, Brian McGrath had a two-run double driving Angel Espinal for the winning run in the league opener Monday at Elmjack. Cathedral is now 1-0 in league play and 5-2 overall.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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