Mahopac was as good as advertised in a 10-1 win over Somers on Tuesday in my first opportunity of the season to see the Indians play. Sophomore LHP Kevin Kernan allowed just three hits and no earned runs over six innings to improve to 4-0 on the season. He kept the Tuskers off balance all game, but his biggest asset was his ability to throw strikes (57 strikes on 83 pitches). Mahopac also pounded out 11 hits and took advantage of a wild Somers pitching staff, which walked a total of 12 batters.
But we’ll start with Kernan, who was a mulleted strike-throwing machine. While he doesn’t throw especially hard (although you’d anticipate his velocity increasing over the course of the next few years), he was fearless when it came to throwing all four of his pitches in any situation.
“He throws a lot of pitches that he’ll throw in any count,” Mahopac coach Chris Miller said. “If it’s a full count, he’s not necessarily going to throw the fastball. He has the ability to get in a hitter’s head.”
Kernan didn’t really get into much trouble, as he didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and only walked one batter. The only run allowed came in the sixth, but it was unearned.
“My fastball was hitting spots, my curveball had a nice break to it today, and my cutter had very nice movement,” said Kernan, who also throws a changeup.
I asked Kernan about the adjustments that he’s had to make stepping into the role of team ace in his sophomore season. The results have been stellar so far. Kernan is 4-0 with a 1.25 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP.
This deep Somers lineup was a huge test, and he passed with flying colors.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. I’ve always played up, and seen that I can do it… I could see from JV to varsity, on JV I could get away with throwing fastballs in the middle of the plate. Now, I really have to hit my spots and mix things up. I can’t throw a 1-2 fastball down the middle – I have to throw a curveball or a changeup. It has to be something different.”
Offensively, the Indians wisely made Somers LHP Sam Bird work when it became clear that he was struggling to find the strike zone. I could hear Miller stressing to his team to pick a zone — which meant he wanted them to zero on an area of plate where they felt comfortable swinging, otherwise they should take.
“Every game you kind of go in with that mindset,” Miller said. “Because they seemed to be struggling with it, we kind of said, ‘Let’s just sit on the fastball. Look for one pitch in one spot and go from there.’ ”
After having two runners picked off by Bird — who seemed to have a great move to first — No. 9 hitter Joe Castellitto came up with the first big hit of the game for Mahopac in the bottom of the second. The right fielder did a great job of staying back on a fastball and ripping it down the first base line for a two-run double to give the Indians a two-run lead.
Interestingly, Castellitto wasn’t even a starter until today’s game. With regular 1B Dan Neilis likely out for the season after having his appendix removed, John Delahanty moved from RF to 1B. Castellitto got the first crack at the job in RF, and at the very least earned himself another start.
Castellitto also came up big in the fourth — the inning in which Mahopac broke things open. With one out and the bases loaded, Jake Villanova hit a ground ball to the SS that might have ended the inning. But Castellitto’s hard slide in second broke up any chance of turning two and allowed a run to score. Elliott Haight followed with a two-run single and Mike Komendowski added an RBI single to extend the Indians’ lead to 6-0.
“(Castellitto) had been coming in late in games, but due to an injury we plugged Joe in,” Miller said of Castellitto, who finished 2 for 2 with a run scored, two doubles and three RBI. “He’s a guy that works hard everyday in practice. The guy doesn’t know how to go half speed. … I knew for a fact he was going to go hard. He was going to slide cleanly, but hard.”
Castellitto, Haight and Komendowski each finished with multiple hits for Mahopac and combined to drive in eight runs.
The only player with multiple hits for Somers was 2B Joe Tomasulo, who went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a double.
These two teams will meet again on Wednesday at Somers, where Tuskers’ ace JT Genovese will match up against Mahopac RHP Dylan Jorde. With guys like Genovese and Bird, Somers has some very live arms, but velocity will only take you so far when you aren’t throwing strikes. I’d expect this next game to be closer, but the Indians certainly looked like the better team on Monday. They’re now 11-0-1.
I’ll leave Kernan with the last word, as I asked him to explain his decision to go with the Kenny Powers-like mullet.
“I noticed that everyone has a symbolic thing – Brian Wilson’s beard, Rollie Fingers with the curls – so I decided I had to go with something different,” he said. “I had the flow … so I decided I would go business in the front and party in the back.”
Here are the rest of the results from Monday:
Iona Prep 9, Cardinal Hayes 2: At Iona Prep Sunday, Cody Polchinski went 2 for 3 with a three-run triple in a five-run fourth inning for the Gaels. Matt Mottola allowed no earned runs and struck out four over six innings to pick up the win.
Keio 6, Blind Brook 2: At Keio, winning pitcher Masatoshi Watanabe had a two-run double and struck out nine. Riku Kawada added a triple and an RBI. Eric Handleman had two RBI for the Trojans.
Clarkstown North 5, Tappan Zee 3: At Clarkstown North, Kevin Kolesar went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI for the Rams. Josh Foreman added two RBI. T.J. Margiotta struck out 12 in the complete game win. Brendan Kraemer drove two runs for the Dutchmen.
Kennedy 13, Peekskill 1: At Kennedy, Joe Drpich went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBI, and Jason Agresti went 2 for 3 with two RBI.
Rye Neck 8, Valhalla 2: At Valhalla, Chris Cascione went 3 for 5 with a home run and two RBI for the Panthers. Teammate Matt Garcia went 2 for 5 with three RBI. Chris Pennell struck out eight in the complete game win. Ben Scher allowed just one earned run in five innings for a no decision.
Brewster 13, John Jay 2: At John Jay, Alex Hutt had two hits and four RBI. Winning pitcher Mark Bentson allowed only four hits and struck out five. Alex Day doubled for the Indians.
Ossining 9, Westlake 1: At Ossining, Mike Haag struck out nine for the win. Haag also went 2 for 3 with two RBI. Zach Giusti went 2 for 2 with two runs and three RBI.
Edgemont 9, Tuckahoe 3: At Edgemont, Dylan Levine went 2 for 4 with three RBI, and Javier Casado had two RBI. Nick Reisman hit a three-run home run for the Tigers in the first inning.
Greeley 8, Port Chester 4: At Port Chester, Justin Ellick went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI, Bradyn Schiffman had two RBI. Jason Ippolito went 3 for 4 with a double for the Rams.
Rye 6, Fox Lane 5: At Rye, Tim DeGraw scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh to end the game. DeGraw went 3 for 3 with three runs. Fox Lane balked in Ryan Hale for the tying run before DeGraw’s run. Jake Meyerson also went 3 for 3 for the Garnets. Richard Slenker tied the game with two outs in the top of the seventh. Slenker went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBI. Fox Lane scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead.
Dobbs Ferry 4, Hastings 3, 8: At Dobbs Ferry, Matt Bohl went 2 for 3 including a walkoff single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. Eddie Ritch, who scored the game-winning run, got the win pitching 2/3 of an inning in relief. Matt Adipietro went 2 for 4 for the Yellow Jackets.
Bronxville 9, Dover 6: At Dover, Parker Lapins went 2 for 3 with three RBI for the Broncos. Jackson Conway went 2 for 2 with two runs, two walks, and two RBI. Winning pitcher Niko Doukas struck out five in five innings and went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.
Pleasantville 3, Croton-Harmon 1: At Pleasantville, Anthony Godino went 2 for 3 with a double, two runs, and an RBI. Winning pitcher Chris Leonard struck out four. Croton-Harmon’s Brian Soares singled to score Brian Oliver.
Byram Hills 14, Harrison 4: At Harrison, winning pitcher Andrew Slowberg went 2 for 4 with a triple and a run scored, and Anthony Arditi went 2 for 3 with a double. Tyler Hart had a triple for the Huskies.
Putnam Valley 8, Pawling 4: At Pawling, Chris Wright went 4 for 4 with two runs, two RBI, and two stolen bases. Anthony Gentile had a two-run double.
Hackley 7, Horace Mann 2: At Horace Mann, winning pitcher Luke Sweeney went 2 for 4 with two RBI and struck out eight batters with no earned runs in the complete game.
White Plains 9, Nyack 3: At White Plains, Alex Gallo had two doubles and an RBI and Kyle Adams had two hits, three runs, and two RBI for the Tigers. Winning pitcher Stephen Schiavone struck out eight in four innings. Jesse Moses had two hits for Nyack.
Sleepy Hollow 13, Mount Vernon 4: At Sleepy Hollow, Armando Cabrera went 2 for 4 with three runs and two RBI for the Headless Horsemen. Alvis Gonzalez also drove in two runs and pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for the win.
Riverside 7, Palisades Prep 3: At Riverside, Steven Moran went 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI for the Rams.
Carmel 10, North Salem 0: At North Salem, Jason Finney Sal Gadero and Breet Viola each hit home runs. Terry Beyer had two hits for the Tigers.
Ketcham 5, John Jay-EF 1