By Joseph Staszewski

Archbishop Molloy was without the crisp play, clutch hitting and dominant starting pitching last week that the Stanners had brought to the field all season.

The second-seeded Stanners needed just one win to claim the city title, but lost twice to No. 5 Xaverian 5-3 and 6-4 in the finals of the CHSAA Class AA intersectional baseball tournament at St. John’s Jack Kaiser Stadium June 11.

Ace Anthony Catinella wasn’t as sharp as usual, and a big hit eluded the Stanners late in Game 1. An error-filled fifth inning doomed them in the second contest.

“We definitely didn’t play up to what we had all year,” third baseman Virgilio Jimenez said.

Despite dropping the first game, the Stanners were in control of the second through four innings. Starting pitcher Scott Hannon was cruising and holding onto a 1-0 lead. He hadn’t allowed a hit and struck out six. He walked Xaverian’s Brandon Torres to start the fifth and didn’t think anything of it after striking out Nick Meola for the first out.

What followed were three Molloy errors, three Xaverian hits and a sac fly that led to four Clippers runs. A clean frame would have gotten Hannon out of the inning without allowing a run. Xaverian scored twice more in the sixth to take a 6-1 lead.

“We just had one mistake after another and then it just all fell down,” Hannon said.

The Stanners (18-5) began to rally in the bottom of the sixth against Xaverian starter Anthony Sigismondi. They got three straight hits from Nick Morici, Liam Slattery and Karl Klesin to make it 6-2 with no outs. An RBI ground out by Chris McGee and sac fly by Jimenez followed. Molloy had to settle for pulling within 6-4 before going down in order in the ninth.

“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had, like we have all season,” Jimenez said. “That was one of the big differences in the game.”

Similar to the second game, Molloy was in control early in the first contest. Klesin doubled and scored on a wild pitch to tie the score at 1-1 in the opening inning. Molloy’s Logan Conroy, who had three hits in the game, delivered an RBI single in the second inning, and Dylan Lanigan lifted a sack fly to make it 3-1 Stanners in the second.

Xaverian answered right back against Catinella in the top of the fourth. Chris Nierva blasted a two-run homer to right and Phoenix Hernandez later scored on a pass ball. Xaverian (20-5) grabbed a 4-3 lead it would not relinquish after Molloy failed to score with the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings.

“We get a single — that’s two to four runs possibly,” Stanners Coach Brad Lyons said. “We didn’t get it done.”

His team still put together a stellar season, despite not securing the championship to cap it off. Molloy lost three Division I players who framed last year’s squad, but this tight-knit senior group put the Stanners a win away from what would have been its first crown since 2002.

“I didn’t even think we would make it this far either,” Hannon said. “We came together, played well, and we had great team chemistry. That’s what helped us win a lot of games.”

Lanigan helps CHSAA to Mayor’s Cup win: Molloy’s Dylan Lanigan was happy to aid his team in earning bragging right over the PSAL with a 4-3 victory at the senior all-star game at the College of Staten Island Saturday.

Being credited for the winning RBI would have just been a bonus. The second baseman lifted a single to right in the top of the ninth, but CHSAA and Xaverian

Coach Frank Del George cautiously stopped Reynaldo Guillen at third base. He eventually scored when the relay throw got past the catcher.

“I’m just happy to get the hit, but yeah, you’re always upset that you didn’t get the RBI,” Lanigan said. “It was the right move.”

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