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Christ the King holds off Molloy for 6-4 win

After trailing by as many as five runs, the Archbishop Molloy Stanners staged a furious rally late in its Monday afternoon match-up with the Christ the King Royals, pulling within one run following a four-run sixth inning.

But an insurance run for the Royals in the seventh and some tough relief pitching by Robert Boland kept Molloy from completing the comeback, as Christ the King held on for a 6-4 win at Stanners Field.

“Nothing is very easy,” said Christ the King head coach Walter Tuthill. “I have a young team — four sophomores, 11 juniors — so it’s always interesting.”

Christ the King did the bulk of its scoring in the first inning. Molloy starter James Lally was in trouble right off the bat, walking lead-off hitter Rafael Castillo and giving up a double off the fence in left field to Joe Amato. Lally then got Elvin Millan to pop out to short and walked Rafael Lajara to load the bases. But he got Mike Maloney to strike out and seemed on the verge of getting out of the jam when Boland stepped to the plate.

Boland promptly blasted Lally’s outside fastball over the fence in left-center field, giving the Royals a 4-0 lead.

After starter Jose Duverge kept Molloy from answering back in the bottom of the first, the Royals tacked on another run in the second when Lally again made a mistake and Amato made him pay. The junior from Glendale blasted CK’s second home run of the game, a solo shot with two outs, to put the visiting club up by five.

“He probably pitched a nervous first inning,” Curran said of Lally. “Then he settled down. I think he just has to learn a little better how not to throw his fastball down the middle of the plate and make them hit his curveball. He’s learning how to pitch.”

Duverge cruised until the fifth inning, when he gave up a one-out single to John Shipman. An attempted pick-off saw the ball bounce all the way into deep right field, allowing Shipman to race around the bases and score standing up to spoil the shutout.

Molloy kicked things into high gear in the bottom of the fifth, as Nick Derba and Bill Miller hit back-to-back jacks to lead-off the inning and pull the Stanners within two, 5-3. Mike Sporton then singled to center, prompting Tuthill to pull Duverge for his rightfielder.

Nick Balalis pushed Sporton to second on his ground out and Shipman went to third on a wild pitch. Mike Shea’s bounce out to second scored Shipman and made the score 5-4. Both Tom Catalonotto and Ed Hackimer walked with two outs, but Boland got Rich Romeo to ground out to second to end the inning.

The Royals scored an insurance run in the seventh when Lajara singled to score Castillo, but they would not need it. Molloy had runners on second and third with two outs, but Balalis lined out to second to end the game.

“I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t put the game away when we were up 5-0,” Tuthill said. “But I really wasn’t nervous about losing the game because it happens, especially with a young team. I try to have a lot of patience, as much patience as I can.

“They got to get used to playing big games like this against very good teams,” the coach added. “Hopefully they’ll learn from the experience and get better.”

Fourth place Christ the King improved to 20-7 overall and 9-6 in league play with the win, while Molloy fell to 11-4 in the league and 14-5 overall.

St. Edmund Prep 7, McClancy 6. The Crusaders rallied from a 6-1 deficit, scoring two in the sixth and three in the seventh to tie the game and force extra innings. But James Conigliaro drove in the game-winner for St. Edmund in the top of the eighth. Carl Agostinacchio got the win in relief.

Xaverian 10, St. Francis Prep 6. Chris Garcia struck out 10 and picked up the win for the Clippers, who remained comfortably in first place in the final week of the regular season. Mike Perez smacked a three-run home run for the winners, now 12-1 in league play.

St. Edmund Prep 7, Monsignor McClancy 6. St. Edmund scored just its second win of the league season when the team rallied to score four runs in the home seventh. After pitcher Agostinacchio singled in the tying run, Vinny Miller came home on an error by McClancy’s catcher, who dropped the called third strike and misfired on the throw to first.

St. Francis Prep 13, Christ the King 12. Peter Mazzurco shut down the CK offense for two innings in relief duty, while Rich McGraw singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as the Terriers improved to 15-6 overall and 11-4 in league play.

Xaverian 9, Archbishop Molloy 5. The Stanners came up short for the third time this year against first place Xaverian. Starting pitcher Danny Christiansen fanned 10, while Andrew Barbaro’s pinch hit double brought home two to snap a 4-4 tie. Xaverian is now 11-1 in CHSAA action.

Bishop Ford 8, Cathedral Prep 4. Ford improved to 9-0, as Cathedral managed just four hits off of starter Jason Miranda, who also struck out six. Sean Babb singled and scored twice for the winners.

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

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