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St. Greg’s tops St. Margaret’s for CYO title, 8-7

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Paul Cianciaruso’s two-out single in the bottom of the seventh scored Kevin Hegarty from third, snapping a 7-7 tie and giving St. Gregory’s of Bellerose an 8-7 win over St. Margaret’s of Middle Village in the Queens Diocesan championship in the 14-year old Intermediate Division Saturday at Monsignor McClancy High School.

For St. Gregory’s, the win was the culmination of a long-time run for a group of players and coaches who had been together for years, but never reached the title game.

“I’ve had these kids since kindergarten,” said St. Gregory’s coach Ron Gianciaruso, whose team defeated Queen of Peace and Resurrection Ascension to reach the finals. “And this is the first time we’ve been to the championship. I taught some of these kids how to throw. It’s very gratifying.”

After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, St. Gregory’s surrendered one run in the top of the second and three in the third on three walks and two singles, as control problems plagued the Gregory’s pitchers all day. The rally handed St. Margaret’s a 4-3 advantage.

After catcher Dan Turbbeville lined a triple down the left-field line in the bottom of the third, Hegarty brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right field, tying the game at four.

St. Gregory’s touched St. Margaret’s starter Andrew Kapela for three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. After the first two batters struck out, Gregory’s staged a two-out rally, as designated hitter Paul Cividanes and right fielder Danny Strein drew walks.

Cividanes scoring from second on a hot ground ball off the bat of centerfielder Kevin McLoughlin that skipped under the second baseman’s legs, giving Gregory’s a 5-4 edge. Gregory’s would tack on two more runs, as shortstop Matt Shelly lined a single over the third baseman’s head, scoring Strein, and Turbbeville lined a single up the middle, as another run crossed the plate, giving Gregory’s a three-run advantage, 7-4.

After St. Margaret’s evened the score on a succession of walks and some timely base hits in the bottom of the sixth, St. Gregory’s pitcher Michael Mulligan kept St. Margaret’s at bay in the top half of the seventh, setting the stage for Gianciaruso’s heroics.

Hegarty sparked the rally with a one-out walk, promptly stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch. After Kapela struck out leftfielder George Samothrakis, he put Gianciaruso in an 0-2 hole before the third baseman laced a single to right field that fell just inside the foul line.

“I just stayed focused,” said Gianciaruso, who will enroll at Molloy in the fall. “And I did what I could to help the team out.”

The win overshadowed the valiant effort of another Molloy-bound player, St. Margaret’s pitcher Andrew Kapela. Kapela went the distance for St. Margaret’s despite the stifling heat, striking out nine and maintaining his velocity into the late innings despite the humidity.

“It was hot out here today,” said Kapela. “But I don’t think it affected my pitching. “We played well today, but they played better.”

“Andrew pitched with a lot of heart today,” said St. Margaret’s coach Nick Ruseo. “And he struck guys out when he had to. “It’s tough because the kids went a long way.”

St. Gregory’s centerfielder Kevin McLoughlin was named the recipient of the Kevin Mahoney Sportsmanship Award, named after the longtime CYO supervisor for Brooklyn and Queens.

In the earlier game that pitted St. Gregory’s against Queen of Peace of Flushing for the Rookie Diocesan 13 year-old Division championship, Queen of Peace, keyed by pitcher Drew Lontos’ two-RBI day at the plate, defeated St. Gregory’s, 6-5, to defend their Diocesan Championship. Lontos’ two-run double in the seventh put Queen of Peace ahead to stay, as the team clawed their way back from a four-run deficit. St. Gregory’s Dino Chiodo was given the John Schuster Award for sportsmanship.

St. Gregory’s also captured the Bantam Division crown with a 17-9 win over St. Luke’s (Whitestone), as Alex Miceli, Chris Sarebria and Tom Usiscta led the way with two hits and three RBIs.

In other CYO action, the ‘B’ team from Flushing’s Queens of Peace defeated the ‘A’ team from Queens of Peace, 2-1 for the PeeWee Division championship. J.T. Dimitra struck out 10 to get the win. In the Novice division, St. Francis of Assisi (Astoria) was its first Diocesan crown, defeating Our Lady of Hope (Middle Village), 16-4. James Roubal went the distance, allowing only two walks. Sean Ferguson and Roubal had two RBIs each.

Reach Contributing Writer Brian Towey by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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