It was a victory that sent shockwaves throughout the CHSAA, a win that put the league on notice that the Bishop Ford baseball team is for real.
Friday’s upset of defending CHSAA Class A intersectional champion Xaverian also opened some eyes among the Falcons.
“Every time you win a game like that, every game after becomes that much more important,” Bishop Ford coach Mike Hanrahan said. “That win just brought up their spirits.”
Anxious to prove the win against the Clippers wasn’t a fluke, Ford has followed with wins against Archbishop Molloy and an impressive, 3−2 victory at Monsignor McClancy on Tuesday afternoon.
“A lot of people doubted us, but there’s no doubting us now,” Stephen Bove said. “We’re one of the top teams in the league.”
It’s hard to argue with the junior pitcher’s logic. After all, you can’t argue with the results and Bishop Ford (8−4 CHSAA Brooklyn⁄Queens ‘A’) has won seven games in a row. Its recent string of impressive victories is a far cry from opening the season with a 5−0 loss to Holy Cross and an 11−0 drubbing by St. Francis Prep.
“The pitching has come around real strong, but the hitting wasn’t there the first few games at all,” Hanrahan said. “Before every game we don’t take pre−game, we don’t take infield−outfield at all. We just hit.”
That’s what the Falcons did on Tuesday, scoring three runs on seven hits. The big blow was a solo home run by Esteban Gomez, who crushed a solo home run to center field to lead off the sixth inning.
It was the big first baseman’s third blast of the year. The junior slugger also hit a walk−off home run in the first game against McClancy (7−4 CHSAA Brooklyn⁄Queens ‘A’) and sent a ball into the parking lot at Archbishop Molloy.
“I actually swing hard, that’s the thing,” Gomez said.
The Falcons jumped on McClancy starter Frank DiMaria immediately, taking a 1−0 lead on Louis Mastrandrea’s RBI single to right. A Gomez blast and an RBI double by Chris Mallette gave Bove plenty of run support.
Utilizing a deceptive changeup, Bove carried a no−hitter into the fifth inning, until a two−out single by Alex Miden broke it up.
“It was floating around in there,” Bove said of the possibility of tossing a no−hitter. “I can’t say it wasn’t, but that’s how the game goes.”
Bove, who allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits, striking out seven with no walks, tired in the sixth and an opportunistic McClancy team immediately capitalized.
Miden again came up with the big at−bat as his two−run single to right cut McClancy’s deficit to 3−2. With runners at first and second, Bove induced a fly out to center to end the inning, and his day.
“I was feeling good,” Bove said. “My changeup was working good, it was slow and dying off the plate. I had them leaning out in front and I was able to come back with a fastball and catch them off guard.”
Kacseim Graham came in to close the game out in the seventh, but even the Falcons ace had his difficulties on the mound. The senior loaded the bases with two outs, but struck out Robbie Rondon, his third strikeout of the inning.
“We let them off the hook,” McClancy coach Nick Melito said. “We had them, but we can’t strike out like that. We said let’s not swing at high pitches and we struck out on three bad at−bats. We didn’t hit well at all today.”