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St. Greg’s, Our Lady of Hope win crowns

In two extremely well-played games at Monsignor McClancy High School, another Catholic Youth Organization baseball season came to a close. With Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan championship games in the Rookie and Intermediate divisions, four teams battled for league bragging rights this past Saturday.

Our Lady of Hope (Middle Village) defeated Queen of Peace (Flushing), 3-2, in the 13-year-old Rookie Division championship. Ian Liesenheimer threw a complete game, surrendering just five hits and one walk. Liesenheimer’s brother, Justin, contributed an RBI-double to lead Our Lady of Hope.

Our Lady of Hope finished the regular season in third place with a 10-4 record. In the playoffs, however, they were the best, winning four games in a row to capture the title.

The John Schuster sportsmanship award was presented to Robert Calabrese of Queen of Peace after the game. The prestigious award is named after the legendary Schuster, who had been involved in CYO sports for more than 50 years before his recent retirement.

In the second game of the afternoon, St. Gregory’s (Bellerose) won a heartbreaker over St. Stan’s (Maspeth), 7-4. Down a run, with two outs and no runners on in the last inning, St. Gregory’s tied the score and added three more to take the eighth-grade Intermediate Division championship.

St. Gregory’s drew first blood on an RBI single by Dino Chiodo with two out in the first inning. St. Stan’s answered back with two runs in the bottom of the inning on hits from J.T. Mazelle and John December. Mazelle, the starting pitcher for St. Stan’s, added two more RBIs in the bottom of the third, giving his team a 4-1 lead.

In the fourth inning, a sacrifice fly by Danny Dukeman and an infield single by Randy Reese drove in two runs for St. Gregory’s, cutting the lead to 4-3. That is how the score remained until the last inning.

With St. Stan’s poised for victory in its first trip back to the Diocesan championship game since 1968, catcher Cliff Rau threw out three St. Gregory’s runners trying to steal. With two outs and nobody on, two walks and an error loaded the bases for St. Gregory’s. Mark Vollaro then tied the game on a light grounder to third that could not be handled. Another error allowed St. Gregory’s to take its first lead of the game and the Diocesan title, 7-4.

The Kevin Mahoney Memorial sportsmanship award was presented to Joseph Long of St. Stan’s. This award was initiated after the untimely passing of Mahoney, a former CYO administrative supervisor.

This was actually the second title in three days for St. Gregory’s. In the PeeWee Division, St. Gregory’s won its third Diocesan championship with an 11-4 victory over St. Kevin’s on Thursday afternoon.

The games provided an exciting end to a successful CYO baseball campaign.

“It was a great day,” said current CYO administrative supervisor Savino Fazzolari. “There was well-played baseball and all the kids played hard.”

Reach contributing writer Josh Centor by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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