I’m 2 for 2 so far this season when it comes to wild endings. North Rockland got to Tappan Zee ace Chris Monaco early, relinquished the lead, and then rallied in the seventh for a crazy 8-7 win. It was the second straight comeback win for the Red Raiders to start the season, as they seem to have a bit of late magic that’s been working in their favor.
“I think on this ballclub we have a lot of guys with heart,” third baseman JD Laguna said. “Sometimes, when you play ugly games and you get down by a few runs, you have to have heart – especially in the last inning. I definitely think that my teammates have all of the heart in the world.”
North Rockland jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Dutchmen scored six straight runs to take a 6-4 lead going into the seventh. It looked like it might be over, but the Red Raiders put together a four-run rally in the seventh.
“If it’s like this all season,” North Rockland’s first-year coach Joe Sottile said. “I’m going to have a heart attack.”
• The Red Raiders knew they were going to face one of the best pitchers in the section in Monaco, and they played like they were fired up to do so. Two first inning doubles from Brian Rotella (pictured to the right) and Tanner Morales gave North Rockland a quick 2-0 lead. “A lot of the guys kind of knew that he was going to throw today, and they were excited talking about it while we were taking BP before we even got on the bus,” Sottile said. “That’s another thing that I like to see in my players – they see a challenge, and they want to go right after it. A power pitcher like he is, if they can settle down after the first inning, they’re tough to get at. To jump on him early, that was really our mentality coming into the game.”
• North Rockland added two more runs off of Monaco in the third thanks to a two-run single from Laguna. Monaco was having some trouble with his command on some of his offspeed pitches, and the Red Raiders were attacking the fastball. “We knew he threw hard, so we were looking fastball and adjusting to the change,” DH Mike Rastelli said. “When you’ve got a good pitcher like that, you have to hit what he gives you.”
• Once again, it was starting to get pretty cold by the time the first pitch was thrown, which probably contributed to both starters struggling a bit. Monaco gave up a few hard hit balls, but he also walked more guys than he usually does. Oddly enough, the only earned runs he gave up all season in 2012 came in his first game, so I’m sure he’s hoping for similar results moving forward. Monaco’s final line: 3 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 77 pitches (41 strikes, 36 balls). “He said he was just having trouble getting a feel for the ball,” TZ coach Mark Stanford said. “It was a little colder than usual and that’s tough, but it’s cold for everybody, and they adjusted a little bit better than we did. That’s when you get good pitchers – you get them early. And they never gave him a chance to settle in, which is a tribute to what they did.”
• The guy who came into the game to replace Monaco in the fourth was the main reason why the Dutchmen were able to come back. Lefty Chris DeCicco (pictured to the left) didn’t allow North Rockland to score for the next three innings and showed some swing-and-miss stuff. He finished with five strikeouts and provides yet another quality arm for Stanford to go to. “I was really impressed with what DeCicco did in relief,” he said. “He kept the game where it was and gave us a chance to get back in it.”
• North Rockland starter Danny Demetrops didn’t allow an earned run through his first three innings, but TZ started to come to life in the fourth. Matt Scherf laced a two-run double that bounced all the way to the left-center field wall to cut the deficit to 4-3 before a Red Raiders’ error allowed the Dutchmen to tie the game. Scherf finished with a couple of hits and looked good at the plate from the three-hole, as did Tom Morales (2 for 3 with a walk, a double and two runs scored). TZ had some issues scoring runs last season, but Stanford was encouraged by what he saw today. “That part’s great,” he said. “If we’re going to find some pluses out of this, it’s that we hit the ball. After we got our heads on straight, we came up and hit the ball better in clutch situations. Hopefully, we’ll take that and move forward.”
• The most unlikely hero of the game for the Dutchmen was Jake Lewis. He came onto replace leadoff hitter Jeremy Dobbs after Dobbs suffered a freak injury in between innings and came up with the go-ahead hit in the fifth to give TZ a 6-4 lead. “After one of the innings, somebody opened the gate and actually cut (Dobbs’) head open,” Stanford said. “Not an injury you want to see happen, so he ended up having to come out of the game early. We went to Jake, who came up with a big hit.”
• Tappan Zee took that 6-4 lead into the final inning and kept DeCicco out there to begin his fourth inning of work. After Nick Connell (pictured to the right) was walked with one out, Laguna singled to center, but the ball was booted in the outfield. Connell came around to score and Laguna legged his way to third to represent the tying run. “I’m thinking two out of the box right away, and once I saw it go past him, I knew I was going three,” Laguna said. “I had a little stumble rounding second, but I got it together, and thankfully I was safe.”
• After walking his second batter of the inning, DeCicco was pulled for Morales. Brandon Respress’ infield single to loaded the bases, and then Rastelli came up for the biggest at-bat of the game. Rastelli had struck out in his previous two at-bats, and his anxiousness showed on his first swing. But after taking a deep breath, the Red Raiders’ leadoff hitter was able to bloop a two-run single into right field to give North Rockland a 7-6 lead. “I knew that he was going to give me a first-pitch fastball, and I swung out of my shoes,” Rastelli said. “Then I calmed down, coach told me to keep my head in, and I realized that all I need to do is get this runner in. With less than two outs, I was like, ‘Alright, let me put it in the outfield.’ I put it in the outfield, and it dropped.”
• The Red Raiders tacked on another run thanks to a TZ error, which it turned out they would need. After Morales led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, he came home a few batters later on a sac fly to cut it to 8-7. Lewis eventually struck out to end the game, ensuring that North Rockland would start 2-0 in the Sottile era. “What I really like is the kids showing that if we see some adversity throughout the game, we’re able to come back at the end,” Sottile said. “Obviously, if we get a lead, I’d like to be able to hold onto it because we’ve given up a lead twice in two consecutive games, but I like to see the heart and life that they show at the end.”
• To see the play-by-play action and full box score, click here to see how I scored the game on iScore.
Here are the rest of the results that we’ve received so far tonight:
Lincoln 7, Solomon Schechter 5: At Lincoln Wednesday, trailing 5-0 in the bottom of the sixth, the Lancers rallied to score seven runs, including a grand slam from Able Nunez. Josh Becker pitched five scoreless innings for the Lions in the no decision.
Ketcham 11, Lakeland 7: At Ketcham Wednesday, Anthony Fava had three RBI for the Hornets. Andrew Martinez doubled and stole a base.
Putnam Valley 11, Pawling 7: At Pawling Wednesday, the Tigers trailed by one run in the top of the seventh before scoring five runs. Billy Kroboth had three RBI including the go-ahead 2 RBI single in the seventh. Steven Dick had four hits and four RBI for the Tigers. Kyle Kuttruf had three hits. Eddie Lent tossed four scoreless and struck out six batters for the win.
Eastchester 11, Irvington 1: At Eastchester, Greg Satriale had a double and three RBI. Kyle Crimmins and Nick Campana each had two-run home runs.
Rye Country Day 13, Masters 3: At Masters, Tyler Fernandez and Liam Dalton had two RBI each.
Clarkstown North 12, Nyack 7: At Nyack, Josh Sharan went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Josh Forman went 3-for-5 with three runs for the Rams. Greg Morano allowed one earned run in five innings for the win. Ryan Howe went 2-for-4 with two doubles for the Indians. Jordan Mews added two RBI.
Port Chester 12, Roosevelt 3: At Port Chester, William Murphy went 3 for 4 with a double, four RBI and two runs. Kyle Drummond went 2 for 5 with two RBI. Carlos Zapata and Rueben Ayala each had an RBI for Roosevelt.
Tuckahoe 14, Hastings 4: At Tuckahoe, winning pitcher Nick Reisman struck out two and also went 3 for 4 with four RBI, three runs, a double and a triple. Brandon Zingaro had two runs and three RBI. Justin Cucino had three runs.
Yonkers 15, Riverside 4: At Yonkers, Mike Sorentino went 3 for 4 with three RBI, two runs and a double. Erison Rodriguez had a double with three RBI and a run. Jean Mejia was 2 for 2 with three runs and a solo home run.
Mamaroneck 10, Pelham 1: At Mamaroneck, Will Hofmann allowed one hit and struck out seven over five innings for the win.
White Plains 7, Dobbs Ferry 1: At White Plains, Cameron Crabbe was 2 for 3 with two RBI. Kyle Adams was 1 for 4 with two RBI and one run.
New Rochelle 8, Ardsley 1: At New Rochelle, Daniel Dasgupta went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Jayson Gray added two RBI. Lou Miceli struck out five and did not allow an earned run in 5 1/3 innings for the win.
Clarkstown South 6, Nanuet 1: At Nanuet, Loius Noia and Jack Perez each had two RBI. John Kukura had a home run. Cody Fitzgerald scored for Nanuet.
John Jay 4, Horace Greeley 0: At Horace Greeley, Jason Valvano was 2 for 2 with three runs and an RBI. Chris Gilberti was 2 for 2 with an RBI. Jon Renzulli was 2 for 3 for the Quakers.
Scarsdale 16, Edgemont 3: At Scarsdale, Grant Goodman allowed no earned runs in five innings while striking out five for the win. He also went 2 for 2 with three stolen bases and four runs scored.
Beacon 5, Carmel 4
Photos by John Meore/The Journal News