When Nanuet coach Phil Carbone came out of the dugout with one out in the top of the fifth and the bases loaded, my first thought was that he was coming to take the ball out of Asim Dar’s hand.
The Golden Knights were leading by three runs against Sleepy Hollow on Monday, but with the go-ahead run coming to the plate and Dar’s pitch count at 106, the right-hander was thinking the same thing.
“I did,” Dar said when asked if he thought his outing was over. “I was nervous, but when he let me stay in there, I was like, ‘This is my chance. I have to show him I can do it.’ ”
Carbone’s decision to leave Dar in looked like it might backfire, as Nick Arduino worked a full count to put Dar in a tough spot. Throw one out of the zone and another run would cross, but leave one over the plate and the damage could be even worse.
Dar threw a strike and Arduino made solid contact, but his liner ended up in second baseman Chris Wrenn’s glove. Wrenn flipped it to shortstop Nick O’Connor for the double play, and Dar had escaped without allowing a run. That sort of epitomized an afternoon in which Nanuet was able to limit damage, while the Headless Horsemen let innings spiral out of the control. The result was the Golden Knights first win of the year, a convincing 13-3 rout.
“We had base runners in the second, third, fourth inning; we just didn’t push any across,” Sleepy Hollow coach Ray Farrell said. “We had a couple tough calls, and I think that hurt us a bit. But I think things just didn’t bounce our way today.”
• Nanuet was leading 6-3 at the time when Carbone decided to leave Dar in the game, but the whole outing had been a bit of a tightrope act. Sleepy got on the board in the top of the first thanks to RBI singles from Dionel Infante and Alec Stoll, but Dar induced a ground out with the bases loaded to limit the damage. The theme was bend, but don’t break, as the Headless Horsemen left 11 runners on base in the game. Dar’s final line was: 5 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 4 BB, 3 K, 112 pitches (72 strikes, 40 balls). “It was my first start of the season, so you get those first start shakes, and that’s what I had,” he said. “I kind of just buckled down and started throwing low. I hit my spots on the corners, and that’s basically it. I was trying to jam them. My two-seamer was pretty good inside jamming them.”
• While Dar was able to stay away from the big inning, Sleepy starter Jack Corcoran was not. The lefty struggled with his command, walking six in an inning and a third before getting pulled. “This was his first outing of the year,’ Farrell said. “He missed a week of preseason, so he’s definitely has a little rust that he has to get off.”
• After scoring one run in the bottom of the first, the Golden Knights put up five in the second to take a 6-2 lead. Two bases loaded walks resulted in Corcoran getting pulled, and then Brandon Strathy greeted Mike Fortugno with a two-run double. “I went in there, it was a new pitcher and I was just thinking line drive, opposite field,” Strathy said.
• Fortugno actually settled in and was effective for a few innings, but Nanuet got to him in the fifth. Two more runs scored on an error and an RBI single from Strathy, and then center fielder Cody Fitzgerald blasted a three-run homer over the left-center field wall to put the game out of reach. “I saw my pitch, waited on it and just unloaded,” Fitzgerald said. “I was surprised it went over. I thought it was just going to hit the fence or something.”
• After the game, Farrell said that he wishes he would have taken Fortugno out earlier in hindsight. “I think we left him in there a little too long and he started to fatigue a little bit,” he said. “The second time around the order, they started to get a better eye on him.”
• Fitzgerald and Strathy had four RBI apiece, but every starter for the Golden Knights reached base safely at least once. After dropping their first two games, this was a nice way to get going. “The past few games we’ve been in a slump, but now that we got the bats going, it’s pretty good,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s good to see everybody getting hits.”
• Nanuet was pumped about the win not only because its the first of the season, but also because Sleepy brings back nearly its entire starting lineup from last year’s team which won a league title and made it to the Class A quarters. I was surprised not to see catcher Peter Pena in the lineup, and Farrell said that he’s one of a few regular players they’ve been missing. He said he expects to have his full squad on the field on Wednesday at Edgemont.
• I asked Farrell about how confident he is with his pitching depth. Edwin Lopez is back and coming off of a great year, but the Horsemen will need more guys to step up. “We have another pitcher who is just as strong as Edwin in Alec Stoll,” he said. “I think he had a sub-1 ERA last year in the league, but he’s having arm issues right now, so we’re awaiting his return. If we can get him back, we’ll have a strong 1-2 punch.”
• Farrell was pleased with his team’s approach at the plate, as Sleepy finished with nine hits — the same total as Nanuet. The difference was the Golden Knights’ ability to come up with hits in the big spots, as well as the fact that they took more walks. “We were putting the bat on the ball, hitting – we were doing a lot of positive things; we’re just not doing all of the right things right now,” Farrell said. “Once we start doing all of the right things, I think we’re going to be pretty good.”
• 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 from Monday:
Pelham 14, Brewster 8: At Pelham, Greg Sigelbaum was 3 for 4 with a double, two RBI and two runs. Gjon Ljucovic was 2 for 3 with two RBI and two runs. Joe Bitetto was 1 for 4 with two RBI and two runs. Sean Henderson was 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run for the Bears.
All Hallows 2, Iona Prep 1, 8: At All Hallows Institute, Vinny Martin struck out 15 batters in 7 2/3 innings of work. Ryan Crowley went 2 for 4 with the only RBI for the Gaels.
Irvington 3, Westlake 2: At Irvington, Kormick Quinn had a bases loaded single in the fifth inning to drive in Manny Figueroa and James McLoughlin. McLoughlin and David Erosa were both 3-3 at bat. Matt Rubin had an RBI for the Vikings.
Haldane 5, Eastchester 2: At Haldane, John Rotando took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Stephen Zalys went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs for the Blue Devils. Mike Milo and Joe Boscia each drove in a run for the Eagles.
Carmel 2, Horace Greeley 1: At Carmel, Cody Nery scored on a suicide squeeze by Mike Palmiero in the bottom of the sixth for the go-ahead run. Nery also had a solo home run. Conor Walker had a double and an RBI for the Quakers.
Saunders 11, Roosevelt 3: At Saunders, winning pitcher Matt Mojica had seven strikeouts and allowed three earned runs. Mojica had two RBI and a double. Temmate Eric Lambur had two hits and an RBI. Danny Bailon had a double and a RBI for the Blue Devils. Carlos Zapata and DJ Smith each added a hit and an RBI.
Fox Lane 6, John Jay 2: At John Jay, Matt Oniffrey had two hits and drove in two runs, while Richard Slenker went 2 for 3 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI. Alec Brown came on in relief and struck out six in five innings without allowing a hit for the Foxes. Tyler Keech homered for the Indians.
Mahopac 6, Ossining 2: At Mahopac, Dylan Jorde and Mike Komendowski each had two RBI for the Indians. Jorde also struck out six batters and allowed two earned runs in five innings to earn the win. Josh Almodovar went 2 for 4 with an RBI for the Pride.
John Jay-EF 9, Yorktown 0: At Yorktown, Ryan Kaplan pitched a three-hitter and struck out nine. Jordon Urban hit a three-run homer. Frank Fusco gave up four runs and struck out four in four innings pitched for the Huskers. The Patriots outhit the Huskers 11 to three.
Clarkstown North 17, Tappan Zee 6: At Tappan Zee, Josh Forman had a home run and five RBI. Jacob Fishkin had three hits and three RBI. Matt Scherf had a home run and two RBI.
New Rochelle 9, Nyack 3: At Nyack, Jayson Gray went 3 for 4 with two RBI. Lou Miceli went 2 for 4 with two RBI. Anthony Mirabile pitched six innings for the win. Rob Visconti and Jordan Mews each had an RBI for the Indians.
North Rockland 7, White Plains 4: At White Plains, Nick Connell and Joe Anselmi each had an RBI. Kyle Adams was 2 for 4 with two RBI and a double for the Tigers.
Solomon Schechter 12, Hamilton 4: At Solomon Schechter, Josh Becker struck out 12 in six innings and drove in three runs and Noah Goldberg drove in two runs for the Lions.
Lincoln 7, Gorton 2
Tuckahoe 12, Yonkers 3