By Elio Velez
Greg Boyle had a quick flashback on the pitching mound last Friday afternoon.
The Archbishop Molloy ace was holding a two-run lead against St. Francis Prep last year before giving up a run, but was able to shut down the Terriers’ rally in the seventh inning to get the win.
The senior hurler at Cunningham Park was in a similar predicament Friday with St. Francis Prep down a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Boyle got down to business once again to curtail the comeback attempt with the potential tying and winning runs on base.
The Hofstra-bound pitcher induced first baseman Nick LoPrinzi to a groundball out to give the visiting Stanners a crucial 4-3 victory over St. Francis Prep in a CHSAA Class AA Brooklyn-Queens Division game.
“I just had to bear down from there,” Boyle said. “Got some nice plays from my fielders and got the big out.”
Boyle began the last half of the seventh inning with Molloy up 4-2. He recorded two outs before Peretti roped an RBI triple to drive in pinch runner Jason Mauri. A.J. Figeroa was plunked with a pitch to put runners on first and third. The right-hander extinguished the fire by getting the ground out.
Molloy was coming off a 6-1 defeat to Holy Cross last Thursday and another loss would trip up the Stanners (10-3) hopes of catching first place Xaverian for the division crown. Boyle used his tenacity to out-duel St. Francis Prep righty Taso Stathpoutos in a battle of pitching aces.
“That’s what a senior leader does when the team needs him,” said Molloy Coach Brad Lyons. “He goes out to the mound, takes the ball and battles and does what he needs to do to get the team a win.”
The Molloy offense benefited from two errors from a sloppy Terriers defense in the top of the second. Peretti booted a groundball at shortstop with two outs as Donovan Armas scored to give the Stanners a 1-0 lead.
While the pitching has been a strong point all season for Molloy, the contributions from players hitting in the bottom of the batting order has been a boost of late according to Lyons.
Designated hitter Michael Rossi delivered a booming two-run double to leftfield in the top of the fifth inning to plate Chris Piteo and pinch runner Dylan Lanigan. The ninth hitter in the lineup, Daniel Gaitan, added to a 4-0 lead with an RBI double.
Lyons says the team has the tools to compete for the post season even if Molloy does not catch Xaverian, who sits a game ahead, for the regular season title.
“We got three solid pitchers who throw strikes,” Lyons said. “I think it’s one of the upsides and our hitting is coming around. Our defense has been solid and we can put that together to have a good run.”