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Pinto powers Prep past McClancy, 10-7

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Alex Pinto’s heart was still racing when he stepped back into the batter's box after belting longtime St. Francis Prep baseball coach Bro. Robert Kent with a foul ball.

The sophomore centerfielder first called time to make sure that Kent, who took a foul ball off the right forearm, was OK. He then took the next pitch, an identical low and inside fastball, up the left field line for an RBI-double in the eighth inning to lead the Terriers to a 10-7 league opening win at McClancy Monday morning.

“Once he was all right I just got back in there and focused on what was coming next,” Pinto said. “This time I tried to stay back a little bit longer; I just flicked my wrists and I saw the ball and hit the ball.”

Pinto scored what should have been the game-winning run in the seventh inning when he broke a 3-3 tie, racing home on a two-out throwing error by McClancy shortstop Vinny Johnson.

After a second straight error, this one by third baseman Shawn Hayes, Justin Gueli belted a three-run home run to center to give St. Francis Prep (3-0, 1-0 CHSAA ‘A’) a 7-3 lead.

But McClancy (3-5, 0-3) scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh, highlighted by a two-run single to right center by Dan Lopez to send the game into extra innings.

“We can play better than we’re showing. That’s another loss of a game that we gave away,” said McClancy coach Nick Melito, whose team also lost to Molloy in extra innings after leading 8-1 in the fifth inning. “We actually better win two of the next three or else we’re really going to be in trouble.”

Melito replaced reliever Robert Gorvetzian with Daniel Sanabria following Pinto’s one-out double down the third base line, but Joseph Taddeo got out of his hitting slump in a big way with a two-run home run to center to put the Terriers in front, 10-7.

“It was a fastball,” Taddeo said. “I was due for a home run.”

McClancy loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the eighth and came inches away from winning the game, but Joseph Schiano’s hard-hit ball to deep left field off reliever Kevin Batista-Corro was caught by Jason Kaye (3-for-4, two RBIs) for the final out.

“We only have four seniors. … We’re going to make mistakes,” Kent said. “But they’re coming back.”

Terriers catcher Michael Xifaras broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning with a mammoth solo homer off Crusaders starter Andrew Guarrasi, sending the ball off the scoreboard in center.

But McClancy responded with a two-run fourth inning on four straight hits, including RBI singles by Hayes and Matthew McDevitt, to take a 3-2 lead. Kaye then tied the game at 3 in the top of the sixth with a double to left field.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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