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St. Robert’s defeats St. Francis to win Diocesan title

In an incredibly well-played game at Bush Field in Woodside, St. Robert Bellarmine (Bayside) defeated two-time defending champions St. Francis of Assisi (Astoria), 7-3, to win the CYO Bantam Division Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Championship.

The game was a pitchers’ duel between St. Francis’ James Poubel and St. Robert’s Chris Paruch, until St. Francis struck first blood and took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. But St. Robert’s came right back with back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the inning by shortstop Mike Biordi, who went 3-for-4, and third baseman Vincent Iannece, who also went 3-for-4.

After falling behind again in the top of the fourth inning, St. Robert’s broke it open with a two-out, three-run home run by Mike Biordi in the fourth inning and then added to the lead with two more runs in the fifth and one in the sixth innings.

The ordinarily running St. Francis squad was stymied on the base pads by the strong arm of St. Robert’s catcher Peter Scianna and the surprisingly strong overall St. Robert’s defense.

In the last inning, after walking the first two batters, St. Robert’s called upon their ace, Joe Mardene, to close the game. After striking out the next two batters, with the powerful James Poubel on deck as the potential tying run, the game was ended with a diving circus catch by Chris Paruch, who went to center field after being relieved by Mardene.

St. Robert’s, coached by Northeast Queens Civic Leader and Chair of Community Board No. 11 Jerry Iannece and St. John’s University Director of Sports Information Dominic Scianna, advanced to the finals after winning their Division with an 8-6 victory over St. Margaret’s on June 19.

In other CYO baseball action, St. Gregory the Great (Bellerose) defeated Queens of Peace (Flushing), 11-5 Saturday at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village behind a great all-around performance from Robert Dougherty to capture the Novice Division championship.

Dougherty started the game on the mound and kept the Queen of Peace batters in check, while also starring at the plate, driving in five RBIs. Billy Xoutlis came on in relief and struck out six.

Centerfielder Alex Bacceri helped St. Greg’s hang on to its lead, robbing a Queen of Peace batter of a homer run by running down a deep drive and then firing to first, catching a runner too far off the bag for a double play.

St. Gregory was coached by Tom McCoy and came from fourth place at the end of the regular season to win the Diocesan championship.

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