Xaverian baseball climbs into first place with win over St. Francis Prep

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After a rocky start, with just one win in six games of division play, Xaverian’s baseball team has finally gotten its groove back. The Clippers are now tied for first place in the Brooklyn-Queens Class AA Division.

“We finally put everything together,” said coach Frank Del George, in his first season helming the Clippers.

The Clippers earned that lofty spot Friday afternoon by defeating St. Francis Prep 9–4 at Cunningham Park. The Terriers (8–2) previously stood alone in first place before the Clippers (8–2) beat them.

Xaverian’s offense was consistent, scoring at least one run in every inning — including two RBIs from designated hitter Nick Meloa. The Clippers also got solid performances on the mound and in the field.

“When you play defense, get good pitching, and hit, things come easy,” Del George said. “That doesn’t come everyday, so when it does come, you have to love it.”

Dom Napoli started the game for the Clippers and delivered a solid outing. The senior ace did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. Napoli allowed just two unearned runs in five innings.

St. Francis scored two quick runs off Anthony Sigismondi in the sixth inning to make it 8–4 with two men on base and no outs. Del George then turned to Anthony Ammatuzi to close out the game. The senior pitcher retired the next three batters to get out of the inning. He then breezed through the seventh to end the game.

“I was just thinking I needed to throw strikes and work ahead in the count,” he said.

The strong finish was an opportunity for Ammatuzi to regain some confidence after losing a game earlier in the week to Archbishop Molloy.

“We told him there’s going to be another game on Friday, you’re going to get another opportunity, lets see what you can do,” Del George said. “He did a great job, he closed it out, and that’s all we can ask from him.”

Gaining a spot at the top of the standings may have been unexpected to some at the beginning of the season, but not to the Clippers’ seniors who are focused on finishing their high school careers on top.

“It’s a great feeling after a bad loss to Molloy to get back to first place where we belong,” Ammatuzi said.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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