After a handful of games in the three-hour range so far this season, I finally got to see one end in less than two hours on Tuesday thanks to Chris DiDomizio. The junior southpaw guided Lakeland to a 4-0 win over John Jay, hurling a one-hitter to pick up his first varsity win in an eye-opening performance.
“From the start of the game, I felt like my stuff was good in the bullpen,” DiDomizio said. “I was hitting spots and with a great catcher like Scooby (Anthony Fava) back there, I always feel like we have a chance to do great things.”
DiDomizio and Fava were all smiles when I spoke to them after the game, and for good reason. Fava made his verbal commitment to St. John’s over the weekend, while DiDomizio just gave the Hornets the type of outing that bodes very well for their chances this season.
“It’s a great week. St. John’s has been the school of my dreams for a long time,” Fava said grinning from ear to ear. “The first thing to do is win a section title, then I’ll look forward to going there.”
• DiDomizio (pictured to the right) allowed a hit in the first inning to Tyler Keech, but that would be the only one of the game for John Jay. He got through seven innings on an efficient 87 pitches, showing that he isn’t shy about letting opposing hitters put it in play. “That’s his thing – he always goes right after the hitter,” Fava said. “He’s not afraid to throw a fastball inside, which is good. I’m calling the game for him, and he trusts me. He just keeps going out there and throwing strikes, and if they hit the ball, we have a great defense behind him.”
• With DiDomizio throwing so many strikes (55 out of his 87 pitches), the Indians were doing a lot of swinging early in the count, which resulted in quite a few one and two pitch at-bats. “This game is tricky when you are willing to hit his pitch, instead of waiting for your pitch,” John Jay coach Geoff Curtis said. “You line out on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, as opposed to a slow roller on the second pitch, that’s a victory for us. That’s the difference between getting to a new pitcher late in the fourth or early in the fifth, or him going for a complete game. Obviously, (DiDomizio) got the latter.”
• While DiDomizio certainly wasn’t overpowering, he did seem to get stronger as the game went on. His final three innings were like clockwork, and he recorded two of his three strikeouts in the seventh. “At the end of the game, I had a little adrenaline,” he said. “Going into the seventh inning, you want to close out every game that you start. I was throwing the fastball a little bit harder and the curveball was really working.”
• DiDomizio provided Lakeland with a huge boost and has become, as Fava put it, “the go-to right now.” Projected ace John White has been dealing with elbow issues and isn’t expected back until May, but with DiDomizio, Kevin Lynch and Joe Tuccito, the Hornets look like they should be able to hold the fort. “Having those two lefties (DiDomizio and Lynch) going is big,” Lakeland coach Joe Knapp said. “We have Joe Tuccito coming back – he’s actually thrown an inning for us so far – and he’s somebody that I’ll depend on in the starting rotation. And if John White is able to come back, then I’ll feel real strong about our chances to do something come playoff time.”
• While DiDomizio put up zeros, Lakeland was able to chase John Jay starter Alec Brown (pictured to the left) by the fourth inning. The lefty only gave up two runs, so I was a little surprised to see him come out so quickly, but the Hornets drove his pitch count up near 60 in just three innings. “One of the things that we stress is have good at-bats,” Knapp said. “Make the pitcher work. We actually practice by setting up the pitching machine and we foul off two-strike pitches.”
• Ironically, Brown will be a future teammate of Fava’s at St. John’s. “He struck me out (in my first at-bat), but then I hit a single off of him,” Fava said with a laugh. “We’re pretty much even right now.”
• Chris Conklin put the Hornets up 1-0 with an RBI single in the first, and then Ray Bozek manufactured a second run in the third after a walk, a stolen base, a ground ball and a wild pitch. Lakeland was aggressive on the base paths all game, and seemed to do a lot of the little things well. “I don’t think we’re the strongest offensive ballclub, and today we did what we have to do to score some runs,” Knapp said. “Get on base, steal a base, move somebody over with a ground ball, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
• The Hornets added a couple of insurance runs in the fifth. Ray Arena led off with a single, and then Conklin was hit by a pitch. Fava singled to bring Arena home, and then Matt deMarte drove Conklin in with a sac fly to make it 4-0. I was looking to square up a fastball early in the count, but he threw a nice pitch away,” Fava said. “Then he threw a changeup on the pitch that I hit, and I just kept my hands back. I lunged a little bit, but I just kept my hands back and tried to hit it in the gap.”
• With the news coming out this week that John Jay ace Will Jahn has a partially torn labrum (I was originally told it was fully torn, but found out today it’s only partial), I asked Curtis about the morale of the team. Jahn was supposed to be the Indians’ horse and he only got to throw 12 pitches in his senior season, but pitching doesn’t seem to be Curtis’ biggest concern. He’s more worried about his team’s ability to score runs. “I can’t imagine that your senior captain (goes down), No. 1 for the third year in a row, and their game isn’t mentally impacted somehow. Will is doing a nice job of staying involved and staying positive, but having said that, it’s an opportunity for other people to step up,” Curtis said. “In Section 1 baseball, you want to go into sectionals with the hot hand and your rotation set. The 20 games before that, we’re going to find out who our guys are.”
• 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 Tuesday:
Dobbs Ferry 2, Port Chester 1: At Port Chester Monday, Matt Crowe singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh. Eagles starter Mike Mitaro allowed one earned run in five innings of work. Chris Cipriano earned the win after a scoreless inning on the hill. Mike Iantorno struck out 16 and allowed one earned run in a complete game for the Panthers.
Tuckahoe 12, Yonkers 3: At Tuckahoe Monday, Justin Sachinelli went 3 for 4, had two doubles, a run scored and two RBI for the Tigers. Justin Cucino went 2 for 4 with a triple, two runs scored, and had three RBI. Camilo Burgos-Bye drove in a run for the Bulldogs.
Masters (Conn.) 12, Harvey 10: At Masters Monday, Curtis Rattner went 3 for 4 with three runs. McKie Perry, Jesse Zubren, and Corey Eisenband each added two hits and two RBI.
Suffern 10, Stepinac 4: At Suffern, the Mounties erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Gabe Cohen was 2 for 3 with two RBI for the Mounties. Frank Tenzer added two RBI. Skylar Mercado hit a solo homer for the Crusaders.
Keio 17, Port Chester 3, 5: At Port Chester, Takumi Yokoyama went 3 for 4 with three runs and four RBI. Seichiro Usui went 3 for 3 with three RBI for the Unicorns. Quajuon Minnott had a run and an RBI for the Panthers.
North Salem 6, Poughkeepsie 0: At North Salem, Tommy Bond allowed one hit in six innings and had nine strikeouts. James Wynne had two RBI and Tommy Cole and Nick Dolce had two hits apiece.
Haldane 5, Arlington B 0: At Arlington, John Rotando went 2 for 3 with two RBI. Senior Matt Forlow went 3 for 4 with two runs and collected his 100th varsity hit. Ryan Koval struck out five in the one-hit shutout.
Byram Hills 10, Pleasantville 4: At Byram Hills, Armend Pushka went 2 for 3 with two runs and four RBI. Joe Greene went 2 for 3 with three RBI. Jack Hatheway added a solo homer for the Bobcats. Drew Marino went 3 for 4 with two RBI for the Panthers.
Harrison 9, Valhalla 0: At Harrison, Luke Sassano pitched a one-hitter, allowing two walks and struck out four for the Huskies. Sergio Osario got the hit off of Sassano in the top of the sixth inning on a base hit up the middle to right center field. Vinny Nicita had a two run triple for the Huskies.
Hen Hud 4, Pawling 0: At Hen Hud, Hunter Glasoff scattered six hits and struck out five batters in a complete game. Carson Cole had two hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Chris Pell added two hits.
Panas 1, Kennedy 0, 8: At Panas, Chris Dahl hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to score Brian Holderman. Tim McCauley struck out three batters and threw just 73 pitches in the two-hit shutout.
Putnam Valley 6, Peekskill 0: At Peekskill, Steven Dick went 3 for 3 with five RBI. Winning pitcher Eric Basso struck out six and allowed one hit in six innings.
Iona Prep 10, St. Peter’s 4: At Iona Prep, Daniel Ormond and Tommy Verre each went 3 for 3 with two RBI. Ryan Doty struck out 14 and walked one in 5 1/3 innings for the win.
Mahopac 8, Yorktown 7: At Mahopac, Dan Tully, Dan Pagliuca, Dylan Love and Ty Lawrence had two hits apiece for the Indians. Zach Bocian homered and had two RBI for Yorktown. Ricky Corrado and Tim Keiling had two RBI apiece.
Beacon 8, Arlington 7
Rye Country Day 4, Hopkins 2
John Jay-EF 12, Brewster 4
Photos by Joe Larese/The Journal News