But he also knew, as the ace of the St. Francis Prep staff, he was the pitcher coach Bro. Robert Kent would depend on in the deciding game of the Terriers' three-game playoff series against Regis at Molloy College Monday."Coach told me that if anyone was going to be on the mound, it was going to be me," Armento, who started last Thursday's opening win to Regis, said.Armento was not spectacular in Prep's sloppy 12-8 win but he did not have to be. After falling 12-11 Sunday in a game in which they led 8-3 at one point, St. Francis's offense came alive again, scoring 12 runs in support of their senior starter."We usually rely on his fastball," Prep catcher Kevin Benway said. "It wasn't popping today, so we went with more splitters, changeups (to) keep them off balance."Added Armento: "I know we have a good offense. I was just trying to keep us within striking distance."The key factor in the victory did turn out to be offense -- with a little help from Regis's inconsistent pitching and defense.Nursing a 6-2 lead going into the fifth, Regis pitcher Steve Giordano ran into some trouble. Benway, who went 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored, led the inning off with a double and later scored after a hit batsman and a wild pitch. Regis coach Dan Dougherty, who said he did not want Giordano to go through the dangerous St. Francis lineup a third time, quickly brought in lefty Tom Zollo to face the middle of the order.Zollo promptly drilled first baseman Paul Karmas and Armento with two straight pitches to load the bases and walk in a run, respectively. The third batter hit in the inning -- to go along with more than 10 Prep batters hit in the series -- whipped the Terriers' bench into a frenzy. Armento strode toward the mound after he was hit, but did not take any further action. Zollo could only look on with a nervous grin. "The kids watch too much TV," Kent said of his team's belief the beanings were intentional. "They think (Zollo) did it on purpose. I don't think so."St. Francis, which kicks off the double elimination round of the CHSAA Intersectional playoffs against No. 3 Stepinac, scored eight runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth amid the fiery outburst to lead 12-6, a difference Regis could not make up against Armento.The right-hander, without his usual popping fastball or his sharp breaking stuff, went the distance, but not before giving up two more runs, and eight in total on nine hits. He did not walk a batter."My team knows I didn't have my 'A' game and I'm pitching on three days rest," Armento, who was content on just letting the Regis hitters put the ball in play, said. "I know the offense was going to be there - they come through in every clutch situation."Farrell 4, Molloy 1. After rallying to tie the game, Molloy fell to Farrell in extra innings and were swept in its three-game series Sunday at Molloy College.St. Raymond's 2, Holy Cross 0. Tom Clark tossed a no-hitter and knocked in a run-scoring double for St. Ray's, which swept its three-game series, 2-0. Kyle Thomas gave up two runs on six hits while striking out five Saturday at Molloy.Reach contributing writer Marc Raimondi by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2005 Community News Group
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