By Troy Mauriello
It was a decision Holy Cross coach Steve Adams hoped wouldn’t come back to haunt his team as he sent pitcher Stephen Castro to the mound to close out the game against St. Francis Prep.
The Holy Cross starter on the afternoon, Patrick Morrissey, had been dominant through six innings, allowing just one run on one hit while striking out seven. But the tall righty had thrown over 100 pitches going into the seventh and the Knights needed to go to their bullpen with a two-run lead.
Castro sure made things interesting in relief in the final frame, but ultimately, he got the job done.
The normally accurate righty walked one and hit two batters in the inning, allowing one run. However, he got St. Francis leadoff hitter Cory Calamusso to fly out with two outs and the bases loaded to preserve a huge 3-2 win for Holy Cross in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens baseball April 28 at the College Point Little League.
“Up to this point, I believe he’s got 25 strikeouts, three walks and one hit batter before today. And then today he walks a guy and hits two, it’s not him,” Adams said. “I said, ‘you’re entitled to one bad day,’ and he still got out of it.”
The Knights were able to take a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning by putting together a two-out rally off of St. Francis starter James McGee.
Up until that point, McGee had held Holy Cross to just one run on one hit, before a two-out walk to leadoff hitter Manny Anastasis ignited the rally. After Anastatis stole second, catcher Matthew Morgan was able to drive a 3-2 fastball into left-center field to give Holy Cross the lead. Second baseman Matt Gutleber then followed that up with a single to plate Morgan and give the Knights a 3-1 lead.
St. Francis coach Bro. Robert Kent wasn’t thrilled about the pitch selection that led to Morgan’s double with a 3-2 count.
“I think McGee made one mistake… he threw him a fastball with a 3-2 pitch,” Kent said. “He should have thrown the pitch he threw before that… the curveball, the worst that would have happened is that he would have walked him.”
Through the first four-and-a-half innings, Morrissey and McGee combined to allow just two hits, as Morrissey carried a no-hitter into the sixth.
“My two-seam [fastball] had a lot of movement today, so I was able to spot it in the right spots,” Morrissey said.
The Terriers were unable to cash in on early base runners again him. They had runners on first and second in the opening frame before designated hitter Dylan Asencio was picked off first to end a rally, and they were then limited to just one run in the second after catcher John Ricotta was picked off second base for the third out.
Morrissey found his groove after that.
“I don’t think he was loose the first two innings,” Adams said. “He didn’t look as sharp.”
After a loss to Monsignor McClancy ended a four-game winning streak, this victory pushes Holy Cross (6-4) to within a half game of second place in the division and avenged a 7-2 defeat to St. Francis (5-5) April 1.
“The intensity was different, we were just dead all week the first time we were playing them,” Morgan said. “And we were focused this week on winning because we lost to McClancy on Monday.”