Heartbreaking loss in semis sends St. Francis packing

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St. Francis Prep junior pitcher Mark Foris isn’t one to hide his emotions on the field , pumping his fists and leaping off the mound when he records a big out.

And with his team leading 5-4 in the top of the seventh inning in Tuesday’s Catholic High School Athletic Association varsity baseball semifinal game against Moore Catholic, Foris was ready for the ultimate celebration, as the Terriers were one out away from facing Queens rival Archbishop Molloy in Thursday morning’s title game at Shea Stadium.

Instead, three singles later, Foris knelt on the Molloy College mound, burying his face in his hands as the Mavericks scored three runs in the inning to go ahead, 7-5, as one of the best seasons at St. Francis Prep in recent years ended shockingly in Rockville Centre instead of Flushing.

“I just lost all sense of what was going on,” Foris said of his reaction to giving up Rob Curry’s go-ahead, two-run single to left. “I blew it. The guys battled all year, but I blew this game.”

Foris may be a little hard on himself, but one clean bounce earlier in the seventh inning and the game would have been over and it would have been the Terriers celebrating on the mound.

After Joe Rizzo’s infield single to lead off the seventh, Moore coach Nick Doscher brought in Brian DiCasoli to pinch run. After Foris got Vinny Arangio to fly out to shallow right, DiCasoli advanced to second on Nicky Doscher’s ground out to Foris.

Joey Cordero followed and laced a first-pitch fastball into left field. Doscher waved DiCasoli around third, as leftfielder Jason Leberfeld came up firing.

Leberfeld threw a strike and it appeared DiCasoli was dead at home. But the ball took a strange bounce as soon as it hit the dirt near home plate, bouncing over catcher Rich McGraw’s head and allowing the tying run to score.

“It was an absolutely perfect shot,” McGraw said. “He was dead, but it took a weird hop. It’s just one of those breaks.”

“I knew a perfect out would have got him, but in that situation I had to send him,” Doscher said. “It was a gamble, but it worked.”

After giving up four runs on nine hits in the opening three innings Foris settled down and kept the Moore batters off balance with a nice mix of fastballs and breaking pitches. He gave up just one hit in the middle three innings, allowing the Terriers to get back into the game.

Trailing 4-2 in the fourth inning, St. Francis Prep (20-10) inched their way back in thanks mostly to Mike Aglialoro’s hot bat. After putting his team on the scoreboard with a home run over the right field fence to lead off the second, the senior first baseman laced a lead-off double to right in the fourth. Brian Forman’s single to right scored Aglialoro to get the Terriers to within one, 4-3.

In the sixth inning, Aglialoro (3-for-3, one RBI) scored the go-ahead run for Prep as, after following Joe Ivazes’ leadoff single to right, he scored on Forman’s sacrifice fly to center field.

“Yesterday I was just a little tense,” said St. Francis College-bound Aglialoro about Monday’s 7-5 loss to the same Moore Catholic team in the double-elimination tournament. “I just tried to relax my body and hit the ball hard.”

It looked like St. Francis Prep was in the driver’s seat, but Moore Catholic has made coming-from-behind a routine part of the team’s game.

The mentality started when the Mavericks had to take on a St. Joseph by the Sea squad in a play-in game just a day after losing to them, 18-0. After St. Joe’s went ahead 4-0 in the first inning, Moore (23-10) rallied to take the game, 9-6, and advance into the double-elimination playoffs.

“We always pretty much stay calm because we knew we still had the seventh inning,” Rizzo said. “We have a lot of faith in everyone because we’ve won a lot of games in the seventh inning.”

After Rizzo got things started in the seventh, Curry, a sophomore rightfielder who was serving the final of a two-game suspension for getting throw out of Moore’s lone playoff loss to Xaverian, finished when he laced Foris’ 0-2 inside fastball into left field.

“I was nervous,” Curry said. “But I didn’t want the seniors to go out with me making the last out.”

“Four years shouldn’t come down to this,” McGraw said. “Foris threw good into the seventh inning. I thought we had a shot, but there was one or two bad breaks.”

Moore Catholic 7, St. Francis Prep 5. Moore jumped all over Prep starter David Robertson for four runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-0 lead Monday at Molloy College. But the Terriers roared back, getting within 6-5 on McGraw’s two-run bloop base hit in the fifth inning before allowing an insurance run in the sixth inning.

Archbishop Molloy 3, Iona Prep 0. The Stanners again reached the CHSAA championship game Monday. Molloy defeated the Iona Prep Gaels behind a superb pitching and timely hitting, securing head coach Jack Curran’s 26th trip to the title game.

Molloy has won 16 of the 25 championship games Curran has coached and will get that opportunity again Thursday thanks to Matt Rizzotti’s two-run single, bringing home Mike Baxter and Richard Romeo. Matt Fealey allowed just two hits and no walks while collecting the shutout win. Molloy improved to 21-5 with the victory.

Iona Prep 5, Monsignor McClancy 4. A two-out double by David Copello scored two to put the Crusaders ahead 4-3 in the fourth, but the team could not keep Iona from manufacturing the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning, ending McClancy’s season. The Crusaders finish with a 9-13 record following Sunday’s heartbreaking loss.

St. Francis Prep 2, Xaverian 1. Mark Foris gave up just two hits and struck out five, while Rich McGraw took Xaverian starter Chris Garcia deep in the sixth to put the Terriers in front to stay. Xaverian scored on a wild pitch in the first inning, but Prep tied it in the fourth when McGraw came home on an error by Xaverian shortstop Dan Palacios. It was the first win for the Terriers over the Clippers in four tries this season.

Archbishop Molloy 12, Iona Prep 11. The Stanners gave up eight runs in the seventh inning, tying a game Molloy seemed destined to win in a walk and forcing extra innings. But Nick Derba’s lead-off triple in the eighth and Bill Miller’s single gave the lead back to the Stanners. Closer Mike Montali got the win.

Monsignor McClancy 8, Cardinal Spellman 3. Jon Rusnack got the win on the mound for McClancy and also did the damage at the plate, blasting a three-run home run in the fifth inning. Joe D’Andrea added three hits in the win for the Crusaders.

St. Francis Prep 3, Monsignor Farrell 2. David Robertson picked up the win, Daniel Weinman secured the save and PJ Gorynski scored on Stephen Ng’s sac fly as St. Francis Prep advanced into the winners’ bracket last Thursday.

Archbishop Molloy 11, Cardinal Spellman 0. Mike Baxter had a home run and two RBIs, John Shipman had three hits and two RBIs and starter Matt Fealey allowed only four hits and the Stanners rolled into the winners’ bracket last Wednesday with a shutout win over Spellman.

Iona Prep 17, Monsignor McClancy 4. Andrew Perrino kept McClancy in check on the mound and Pete Milani had two triples, a home run and six RBIs for the winners in the opening round of the CHSAA intersectionals last Wednesday.

— Anthony Bosco contributed to this story

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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