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Holy Cross struggles in loss to Xaverian

By Joseph Staszewski

Pitching has been Holy Cross’s biggest constant and strength this season, but has struggled to couple it with the other aspects of the games when playing against the elite teams in CHSAA bseball. The deficiencies were again evident against division leader Xaverian.

“We have struggled defensively all year,” Knights coach Steven Adams said. “Today again we threw a run away and we really haven’t hit all year.”

The Clippers, who had just five hits and eight base runners, scored all of their runs with the help of the stolen base in a 3-1 victory over Holy Cross in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens baseball in Bay Ridge May 5. It gave Xaverian the rubber game and its second victory by two runs over the Knights. Cross (7-6) had won six of seven before that.

“We started slow. We got hot for a few weeks and now we struggled again this week,” said Adams, who wants his pitchers to hold runners better. “Hopefully, we can turn it around next week.”

His ace Patrick Morrissey, who beat Xaverian (11-3) in the first meeting, allowed just four hits and a walk over five innings of work, yet found himself down 1-0 after the first. Phoenix Hernandez, who singled, stole second and third and came around to score on a Daniel Ryan sac fly. The hard-throwing Morrissey settled down from there, getting aggressive inside and throwing his curveball for strikes.

“He is going to go after you,” Adams said. “He doesn’t know what dial it down means.”

The junior got a big double play to wiggle out of a jam in the fourth, but ran into trouble in the fifth on a cold, damp and drizzly day. The Clippers scored twice in the frame. They collected two singles, three stolen bases and an errant throw to third that brought home Joe Gallo. Joseph Scaramuzzino’s RBI single made it 3-0.

“The ball was hard to grip late in that inning,” Morrissey said.

He got little support from the Knights’ lineup, which managed just four hits and squandered some early opportunities to get on the board. Holy Cross left two men on with no outs in the first against Xaverian starter Christian Allegretti. Reliever Shamus Connolly came on and struck out Matt Morgan to leave two more runners on the bases in the third with his team up just 1-0.

“If we get a single right there, the game is totally different,” Morrissey said.

The Knights’ lone run came against Alex Passarella in the top of the seventh, when a catcher’s interference call scored Charlie Peponakis, who was hit by a pitch, from third. Holy Cross had the tying run on first with two outs, but Passarella got Shawn Harrison to fly out to short to end the game.

Harrison was on base twice and leading off in the sixth was robbed of a double on a stellar defensive play from Xaverian third baseman Pedro Fortoso. His team sits two games back of second place in the loss column in the division, but feels it has proven it can play with anyone.

“By the end of the year, we can be a top team in the league,” Morrissey said

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