By Joseph Staszewski
Archbishop Molloy was given yet another chance to let its youth be an excuse and let its season get away.
The Stanners, like they have all year, refused to let that happen.
Seventh-seeded Molloy trailed No. 2 All Hallows by four runs after three innings in the deciding Game 3 of the CHSAA Class AA baseball qualifying round Sunday. It responded with a six-run third inning and held on for a 6-4 victory in Briarwood. The Stanners advanced to the double-elimination championship tournament.
“Once you are down 4-0, it’s never really a good feeling,” sophomore third baseman Jack Turner said. “You are kind of down on yourself, but this team, we never give up hope.”
Molloy (13-8) suffered two lopsided loses to Xaverian early in the year and didn’t close the season as strong as it would have liked after a 10-2 start. The Stanners then saw ace Scott Hannon fall 2-1 in the series opener before rallying to eliminate All Hallows (14-11).
“We have had our bumps and bruises during the season, but it’s a resilient group,” Molloy coach Brad Lyons said. They just keep fighting and finding a way to get it done.”
The big inning started with a single by Thomas Manetta, a walk to Michael Cortez and an infield single from Matthew Lees. Kevin Linitz, Chris Armas and Hannon each delivered RBI singles to close the gap to 4-3. Turner, who hasn’t stopped hitting since being inserted into the starting line up in late April, provided the big blow. He blasted a two-run double to right center to put Molloy ahead for good at 5-4.
“I just waited back, two strikes and got it done,” Turner said.
The Stanners added an insurance run when Hannon stole home, taking advantage of the slow delivery of All Hallows ace Jorge Meron. Lyons felt that run really took the air out of Gaels.
The frame was more than enough for Stanners reliever Frank Cerillo. The junior tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings over the last two games. He allowed just two sixth-inning hits in four innings of work in Game 3. Cerillo came in with runners on first and third in the sixth inning of Game 2 and got out of the jam.
“All I know is keep working hard. I know coach and everyone has my back,” Cerillo said.
All Hallows cleanup hitter Juan Ramos put Molloy in a hole early. He had a two-RBI single in the opening inning and blasted a more than 350-foot solo homer in the third to make it 4-0 against starter Ruben Jimenez. Armas later robbed him of a double thanks to a great running catch.
Molloy didn’t let any of All Hallows early success faze it.
“We always knew we could comeback,” Turner said.
McClancy sweeps SFP
The Crusaders advanced to the CHSAA ‘AA’ baseball championship tournament with a 3-0 victory over St. Francis Prep in Game 2 of its best-of-three series.
Charlie Neuweiler tossed a two-hit shutout and struck out seven. The sophomore pushed his record to 9-1 this season. Ryan Neuweiler, Charlie’s twin brother, drove in the game’s first run.
McClancy took Game 1 by a score of 2-1 on a walk off single by Jorge Mercado.