Xaverian let a three-run lead, and its season, slip away against Fordham Prep.
The second-seeded Clippers fell 7–6 to the No. 1 Rams in the loser’s bracket of the Catholic baseball Class AA intersectional city championship playoffs on Sunday at Iona Prep.
Xaverian took a 6–3 lead on a two-RBI single by Andrew Schillaci and a two-run homer from Nick Meola in the top of the fourth, but the advantage was short lived. Clippers relievers had trouble finding the plate in the fifth as consecutive bases-loaded walks helped put Fordham Prep ahead 7–6.
“We just couldn’t hold it as far as pitching was concerned,” Xaverian coach Frank Del George said. “We felt six runs should have been enough to win the game.”
Del George said the top-flight pitching in the playoffs was able to cool off his team’s bats as they left runners on base numerous times early in the game. Xaverian’s best playoff performance came in a win over All Hallows a day earlier, following an opening round loss to St. Joseph by the Sea.
Schillaci needed a hug after losing to Sea because the Clippers needed his bat to wake up. He struck out three times.
Schillaci later stepped up to help Xaverian beat No. 6 All Hallows 10–5 last Friday at St. John’s University. He was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a two-run triple to break open a five-run third inning.
“I was trying to be the super hero against Sea,” Schillaci said. [The coaches] told me relax, let it happen. That’s basically what I did. I got lucky that a few balls bounced my way.”
The Clippers (17–5) also got three hits and two runs scored from leadoff hitter Charles Misiano, two hits and an RBI from Zach Candelaria and a two-run double from Meloa.
It was more than enough offense for pitcher Dom Napoli. The senior tossed six innings of three-hit baseball. He allowed just one run and stuck out five. All Hallows (13–8) rallied for four runs, two earned, with two outs against reliever Adam Curto, before John Codelia came on to shut the door.
Del George had a good feeling sending Napoli to the hill. He watched the lefty starter toss a two-hitter against All Hallows in the fall. Napoli took that confidence with him.
“I came out there, wasn’t nervous at all,” he said.
The season didn’t end with a city title, but Del George was still pleased with his team’s performance, which included a division title.Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk