Stepinac players could exhale after relief pitcher Donato Signore retired Fordham Prep in order to clinch a 5-3 victory in a CHSAA double-elimination tournament game at Fordham University yesterday. (Seth Harrison/The Journal News)
Stepinac shortstop starts rally after error
NEW YORK - It took one inning to turn a stagnant, low-scoring game into an edge-of-the-seat battle between No. 2 seed Stepinac and No. 6 Fordham Prep in the CHSAA baseball tournament at Fordham University yesterday.
The Crusaders' Steve Martinez needed to make something happen after his fielding error and an opportunistic offense had given Fordham Prep a one-run lead in the top of the sixth inning. He did, and Stepinac went on to pull out a 5-3 victory.
As Martinez stepped up to the plate in the bottom half of the sixth, he knew he could not let his error control his game. The shortstop hit a stand-up triple to deep center field and scored on a fly ball to kick off the winning three-run rally.
"I was thinking not to try too much," said Martinez, who went 3 for 3. "You can't get two runs with one swing. Everybody just contributed, and we kept it moving."
The Crusaders put runners on first and third before Fordham Prep took out starting pitcher Sal Lisanti. And they weren't fazed by relief pitcher Ryan Fedak. Greg DiGiacinto hit a line-drive single, allowing Ed Martinez to score the go-ahead run at 4-3. Two errors by the Rams allowed Jackson Markey to score from second base, giving Stepinac (15-5) an insurance run.
Neither team was able to muster much offense until Stepinac scored on a wild pitch and two hit batters to take a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, giving the Crusaders a feeling of relief.
"A zero-zero game, you know I was kind of getting to that point where it's like: When are we going to start scoring?" Steve Martinez said.
But in the top of the sixth, a leadoff single by Fordham Prep's Dominic DiMele set up the go-ahead rally. A walk and an error later and the Rams (12-7) had the bases loaded. A base hit by George Perrotta brought Fordham Prep to within 2-1. Jack Giannini scored on Sal Annunziata's sacrifice fly to center field. A bases-loaded hit to shallow center by Daniel Turner gave the Rams a 3-2 lead.
"The measure of a good team is not how well you perform when things are going well; it's how you well you perform when you're not doing well," Stepinac coach Pat Duffy said. "We're really proud of them today."
Winning pitcher Michael Bradshaw allowed three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in six innings. In the seventh, Donato Signore set down Fordham Prep in order to get the save.
The Crusaders advanced in the double-elimination tournament to face Monsignor Farrell today at 4:30 p.m. at Fordham University. Fordham Prep will play St. Peter's in an elimination game at 7:30 p.m.
"We just came up short today," Rams first baseman Annunziata said. "We've got to move on and come back tomorrow and play hard. It's a one-game elimination, and I think we play good when our backs are against the wall anyway. I think we're going to do fine."