Bishop Ford had just done what no team in the CHSAA could do this year, beating previously undefeated Xaverian, the No. 1 team in The Post’s New York City baseball poll. And the Falcons did so convincingly, routing the Clippers, 9-2, at Shore Road in Brooklyn on May 11.
But when the last out was recorded, there was no wild celebration on the field, no chest bumping, and no glove tossing.
The Falcons acted like they’ve been there, done that, in part, because they have. Last year Bishop Ford was in the same boat, ending mighty Xaverian’s bid for an undefeated season. But the Falcons faltered in the playoffs, losing to St. Joseph by the Sea.
“It’s a great win, but you can’t win off of one game,” Bishop Ford coach Mike Hanrahan said. “There’s a lot more work to be done.”
As satisfying as it is beating Xaverianfor a second straight season, this wasn’t the goal the Falcons set at the start of the season.
“It’s a regular game,” Bishop Ford catcher Matt Molbury said. “We came out, set out goals in the beginning of the year that we were going step by step and this is the first step. We’re in second place. Now the playoffs come and hopefully the championship.”
A 4-3 loss to the Clippers on April 23 served as a confidence booster for the Falcons. In that game, Xaverian scored all of its runs in the first inning and held off Bishop Ford. On May 11, the Falcons wanted to make sure they struck first. Before ace Stephen Bove threw a pitch, he had a four-run cushion. The big blow was a two-out, two-run double to left by Anthony Foust.
“That was the big thing because they did that last time,” Molbury said. “They set the tempo, they scored the four runs in the first inning so we said we had to do that to them and keep it on them and we did that today.”
Bove was brilliant on the mound, giving up just a first-inning single to Elvin Soto through the first five innings. Utilizing a solid fastball and effective slider, he ended up conceding one earned run on three hits, striking out nine in a complete-game victory.
“I felt good,” the senior right-hander said. “I was hitting the spots with off-speed pitches, fastballs were sneaking up on the batters [and] we made a lot of nice plays in the outfield. Everything seemed to work today.”
Bove helped himself out with a two-run double to center and Molbury, who was 3-for-3 and reached on an error, drove in two more runs with a single up the middle to put Ford in front, 9-1.
“This was huge,” Bove said. “Going into the seeding round there’s nothing better than beating a good team like that and going in with a lot of momentum.”
Clippers ace Steve Pastrana was supposed to pitch, but complained of back problems as he warmed up in the bullpen and was a late scratch. Kieran Monaghan was the emergency starter, but he got roughed up and was lifted with one out in the fourth inning. Frank Scudiero was solid in relief.
“This was simple,” Xaverian coach Lou Piccola said. “[Bove is] a very good pitcher, had command of all three pitches and good pitching is always going to beat good hitting.”
Piccola said the storm clouds have been brewing for a couple of games for his team, but the Clippers continued to win. On Tuesday, though, it poured.
“I don’t like losing at all, but maybe we needed this to happen,” Xaverian senior J.T. Torres said. “An undefeated season is always good, but going into the playoffs you want to know that you can be beaten so you stay hungry. Right now the intensity isn’t there. We just need to wake up right now.”