By Joseph Staszewski
David Follenius picked up for teammate Ryan Neuweiler with an excellent spot start, but the Monsignor McClancy bats couldn’t do the same for the senior left-hander.
Follenius allowed two runs on six hits and did not walk a batter over 5-2/3 innings in the Crusdaers’ 2-0 loss to Fordham Prep in CHSAA baseball at Fordham University’s Houlihan Park Saturday. With Neuweiler out due to shoulder tendonitis, Follenius had his first start of the season pushed back twice during the week, but rose to the occasion when called upon.
“He answered the call, that’s what it’s about,” McClancy coach Nick Melito said. “He’s a senior, great kid. Too bad we gave the game away.”
Three Fordham Prep singles in the second inning, including an RBI hit from Nick Scambia, gave the Rams a 1-0 lead. Aside from that Follenius was in very little trouble until the top of the sixth, allowing just three other base runners by living on the corners of the plate. He expected to be nervous, but was not intimidated at all.
“I really wasn’t,” Follenius said. “I knew I just had to put the ball over the plate and my fielders were going to make plays.”
But the Rams also made a few key plays behind ace Conor McNamara and McClancy didn’t help itself at times. McNamara allowed four hits and walked just two.
Two fine defensive plays in the fourth kept the Crusaders from seriously threatening. Melito argued that Frank Albericco clearly beat out a throw to first by McNamara that would have put runners on first and third with no outs.
“I didn’t like the call at first,” he said. “I thought that was the changing point in the game. When you face a pitcher like that, you have to get your opportunity.”
McClancy looked like it would finally break through in the top of the sixth when Mississippi State-commit Quentin Holmes and Kyle Schaefer led off with back-to-back singles. Holmes would get overly aggressive, running at second with the bunt on, and was picked off. McNamara got the final two outs after a walk to designated hitter Neuweiler, who Melito doesn’t expect on the mound for at least two weeks.
“A couple of calls and a couple of bad breaks is enough to lose a game like this,” Follenius said.
Fordham got an insurance run in the sixth to make it 2-0. James Hulbert led off with a double and came around to score from third on a throw to second intended to catch the stealing Danny Alvarez.
The importance of each game continues to be magnified, with McClancy (5-2) and division leader Xaverian (7-2) stumbling a bit. The race for the Brooklyn-Queens title is getting tighter as we head into May.
“I don’t think there is a great team,” Melitto said. “I think there are good teams on any day.”