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Our Lady of Hope wins Diocesan championship

Thomas Cloonen provided leadership, going the distance with 12 strikeouts, pitching a gutsy game against the hot-hitting Flushing team. Cloonen was all business, never faltering and leading this team to victory while celebrating his 12th birthday.

Centerfielder Mark Anastasio (1-for 2, run), one of the team’s spark plugs, came up with two big plays in the field and was a terror on the base paths.

In the first inning, first baseman Mark Vadala (1-for-3, 2 RBIs) roped a double to left-center, driving in two runs and giving Hope the lead.

St. Kevin’s came back in the fourth inning, going ahead, 4-3, but leftfielder Christian Figliola still managed to provide tough defense in the stanza, running down a ball to the fence and holding the batter to a double. Matthew Yudt came in to make a nice catch in the outfield and Teddy Jankowski made an excellent play going back on the ball at second base to quell the rally.

In the bottom of the fifth and Hope still behind, the Hornets made their push, scoring three runs on smart baseball and hustle. Second baseman Michael Pittelli, rightfielder Matthew Evangelista (1-for-2, RBI, run) and catcher Christopher Fesler (two runs) all contributed during the crucial rally that put the Middle Village team in front.

The game ended in dramatic fashion when in the bottom of the seventh with a runner already on first, a St. Kevin’s single was followed by several throws around the diamond, setting up Hope shortstop Justin Tableman, who took third baseman Michael Riconda’s throw and fired to home to Fesler. The catcher applied the tag in time to prevent the tying run from scoring and ending the game.

Hope reached the title game with a 10-3 win over Bayside’s St. Robert’s in the semifinals. Tableman (1-for-3, run) pitched a complete game with 13 strikeouts, maintaining his composure throughout.

St. Robert’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead until Joseph Jameson (2-for-3, three RBIs) tied the game in the second, launching a double into right field.

In the fourth inning with the game still tied, Teddy Jankowski (2-for-3, four RBIs) hit a monster double to center, clearing the bases and putting the Hornets ahead for good.

Leftfielder Gary D’Onofrio, who played tough defense throughout the year, took one for the team before rightfielder Matthew Yudt (1-for-2, two RBIs) sealed the victory with a two-run sixth-inning home run.

Also contributing in this offensive assault, along with tough defense, was Cloonen (2-for-3) and Evangelista (2-for-2, two runs).

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