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Molloy bounces back from first two losses

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The Archbishop Molloy varsity baseball team upped its league record to 14-2 Monday, winning a rain-shortened game over the Monsignor McClancy Crusaders, 6-1, at Stanner Field.

The win was the first for the Stanners since the team’s first two defeats of the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan season, back-to-back losses to the Christ the King Royals and Xaverian Clippers this past week, and also locked up no less than second in the division for the team.

Head coach Jack Curran, however, shook off any notion that his team, which started the season on a 13-0 tear, was starting to slip.

“You got to lose once in a while,” Curran said. “I think it’s just that we didn’t score any runs for a couple of games. Our pitching had been adequate.”

That mild offensive slump seemed to carry over into Monday’s game, as McClancy jumped out in front in the first inning when David Copello drew a lead-off walk off Stanners’ starter Matt Feeley. John Mascette bunted Copello over to second and, one batter later, Joe D’Andrea singled him home.

Molloy threatened right away in the bottom of the first when Keith Hahn walked and Phil Kuhner doubled with one down. But McClancy starter Marty Noer got John Sikiric to pop out to short and caught Anthony DiTroia looking to end the threat.

Feeley settled down in the second and third, allowing McClancy just one base runner, a lead-off single by Jon Russnak in the second, setting up the third inning, when Kuhner hit a two-out solo shot over the left-center field fence to tie the game at one.

The Crusaders managed to get the lead-off man on again in the fourth, when D’Andrea started the inning with a single to left. But when the next two batters failed to get on, D’Andrea was caught trying to steal second to end the inning.

If Kuhner’s blast in the third did not signal an end to Molloy’s offensive woes of late, then the fourth inning slammed the door shut.

Fred Estes led off the inning with a single and Mike Baxter reached on an error. John Maser then drew a walk to load the bases, bringing up Mike Vigorito, who singled to left to score Estes and give Molloy the lead.

Mike Vollaro reached on an error to score Baxter and make the score 3-0. Hahn and Kuhner were both retired without bringing home a run, but Sikiric’s two-out single brought home yet another run, making the score 4-1. DiTroia then walked to bring home the fourth run of the inning before Estes, who started it all, grounded out to third to end the inning.

After Feeley worked a perfect top of the fifth, McClancy went to reliever Pete Massaro, who received a rough welcome, giving up a solo inside-the-park home run to Baxter to lead off the inning. With the rain coming down heavier with each pitch, Maser tripled, Vigorito was hit by a pitch and Vollaro walked to load the bases with no out.

Just then McClancy coach Nick Melito emerged from the dug out and conferred with officials, bringing the game to a sudden conclusion.

League rules mandate that each game must be completed, unless the coach on the losing end chooses to forgo the remainder of the contest, which is exactly what Melito decided. Instead of bringing his team back to Molloy for two innings over the weekend, further tiring his pitching staff just prior to the playoffs, Melito chose to take the loss.

“We got lucky, which sometime happens,” Curran said. “We were OK. I think we can do better.”

Molloy was slated to finish its season by Wednesday with games against Holy Cross and St. Edmund, while McClancy, now 3-14, had just Christ the King left on its schedule. A likely one-game playoff between McClancy and Cross to determine the final Brooklyn/Queens playoff team is tentatively scheduled for Friday.

Xaverian 13, Holy Cross 0. Tony Miranda hit a two-run homer and Danny DeSouza had three hits, including two doubles to lead the Clippers. Danny Christensen went the distance, striking out 10.

Bishop Ford 8, Cathedral Prep 5. The Crusaders fell Monday afternoon, as Dudley Ewald’s two-run blast led Ford to its seventh victory of the season.

Christ the King 1, St. Edmund 0. Joe Roman hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to bring home the game’s only run. Michael Englert got the win for the Royals, who improved to 19-9 overall and 10-6 in league play.

McClancy 15, Holy Cross 4. The Knights’ slide continued with a blowout loss to the Crusaders last week. Marty Noer had four hits, including a home run and a triple while knocking in four runs for the winners. Jon Russnak earned the complete-game victory.

Xaverian 5, Archbishop Molloy 3. The Clippers kept the pressure on the first-place Stanners with this win last Thursday. John DeFendis went deep for the Clippers, while Danny DeSouza smacked a triple and a double.

St. Francis Prep 11, Holy Cross 3. Brian Forman was key for the Terriers, driving in six runs, including a three-run dinger. Danny Pudjak went the distance for the win.

Christ the King 5, Archbishop Molloy 0. John Czech hurled a two-hit shutout for the Stanners, handing Molloy its first defeat of the league season.

St. Edmund 1, Monsignor McClancy 0. James Celifarco was hit by a pitch in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded to win the game for St. Edmund.

Xaverian 9, St. Francis Prep 5. John DeFendis blasted two home runs and drove in six for the Clippers, as Chris Garcia got the win in relief.

Archbishop Molloy 4, Christ the King 2. Matt Sealy went the distance for the Stanners, while Phil Kuhner had two hits and two RBIs.

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

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