By Joseph Staszewski
Monsignor McClancy’s miraculous playoff run won’t have a storybook ending.
The sixth-seeded Crusaders played themselves to within a win of making the CHSAA Class AA Intersectional title game when they beat Queens rival Archbishop Molloy last week, but that final win eluded them. McClancy fell to fourth-seeded Salesian 5-3 on June 6. Three days later they suffered a season-ending 4-2 loss to No. 8 Monsignor Farrell at Fordham University in the loser’s bracket final of the double-elimination tournament.
“It beat any expectation any of us had going into the season,” senior designated hitter Franklyn Coste said. “It’s something that, even though we came up short, we are never going to forget.”
McClancy’s best chance to take control of the game came in the bottom of the sixth inning. Consecutive two-out singles by Coste and Danny Ruiz put runners on second and third after a throwing error by the left fielder. Farrell starter Vin Vitacco then got Ryan Neuweiller to ground out to end the threat. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out six for the complete-game win.
“He was hitting his spots,” said Coste of Vitacco. “He was throwing strikes. It was hard to get something going against him.”
Farrell (19-6) on the other hand did all of its damage with two outs against Crusaders starter Frank Albericco. The junior surrendered four runs, two earned on seven hits over seven innings. The Lions got to him in the opening frame after two routine fly outs.
A throwing error gave Thomas Medina the chance to deliver a two-run double to left to make it 2-0. McClancy (15-10) answered in the bottom of the frame when Coste singled to score Jorge Mercado and Andrew Santora to tie the score at 2-2.
The Lions took the lead for good in the third. They stroked three straight two-out singles, one of which resulted in an RBI from Medina and gave them a 3-2 advantage. Farrell added an insurance run in the top of the seventh.
“You are one pitch away from getting out of an inning and it could turn into something big,” Albericco said of watching Farrell score two-out runs.
McClancy played the game with head coach Nick Melito watching from the Fordham press box. He was ejected during the loss to Salesian and was serving a suspension. Despite watching from afar he was proud of all his team accomplished this season and of the chemistry it had.
“I don’t think we are the most talented team, but I think we are the most cohesive team,” Melito said.
He wants his returning players, a core of sophomores and juniors, to remember what it was like to play in high-pressure situations, on college fields and in situations where execution becomes that much important. They sound like they will
“We got a taste of it,” Albericco said. “But we are not done yet.”