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James Wynne barely had enough time to take any warm-up hacks before his pinch-hit appearance in the third inning, but it didn’t seem to matter much. North Salem’s center fielder stepped into the box after arriving late to Tuesday’s league game against Putnam Valley and laced a two-run triple to break a scoreless tie.
“Literally, probably a couple of minutes,” Wynne said of how soon he arrived before the at-bat. “I threw on my cleats, ran over, grabbed a doughnut and started swinging. I stretched a little bit, and I was up.”
Wynne usually bats third for the Tigers, but he was detained while dealing with a ticket (We’ve all been there… Or is it just James and I?). His long triple to deep center field sparked a six-run inning for North Salem, which went onto cruise to a 10-0 win over Put Valley.
Wynne added a two-run homer in the sixth, finishing 3 for 3 with four RBI. He was a double away from the cycle, and with the way he was swinging it today, he might have gotten it if he had been there in time for his first inning at-bat.
“I got a lot of curveballs, like I always do, so I tried to do my best to put it right up the middle,” he said. “If I’m guessing it, I could be late or low, and I could end up striking out if I try to pull it, but I went with it. ”
• I was admittedly scratching my head when I saw the No. 3 batter being pinch hit for in the third inning, but it became clear pretty quickly that Wynne was not your typical bench player. “James is a senior and he’s been hitting well for us all year,” NS coach Rob Gilchrist said. “Really consistent. My 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – they all hit. Line drives up the middle, and we rely a lot on James.”
• The third inning rally was started by No. 9 hitter Reilly Cotter, who led off the inning with a triple of his own. Nick Dolce’s infield single with one out put runners on the corners, and then Wynne crushed a triple that took a similar path to Cotter’s to give NS a 2-0 lead. Phil Capra followed with an RBI single, Ryan Ledwith added a two-run double and a sixth run scored on an error. Just like that, we went from a tight game to one that was beginning to feel like a blowout. “The last two games – Brewster we hit very well and scored 11 runs, and today everybody hit one through nine, and we scored 10 runs,” Gilchrist said. “Right now, everybody is clicking.”
• In a performance that might be easy to overlook considering the offensive display, NS starter Luke MacKenzie hurled a five-hitter. In the top half of the third before the Tigers’ bats broke out, the junior right-hander worked out of a critical jam. Put Valley had runners on the corners with one out and its three and four hitters coming up, but MacKenzie bore down to strike them both out and keep the score at 0-0. “After that, I was feeling pretty high. It was a good way to get them out, and we rallied after that. I feel like the whole team got hyped considering it was the meat of their order,” MacKenzie said. “I’ve had a lot of trouble with controlling my curveball in the past. Today it was just on, and I managed to use that. I think I struck them both out on curveballs.”
• MacKenzie didn’t have to sweat much after that, finishing with a final line of: 7 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 9 K, 87 pitches (60 strikes, 27 balls). He mostly worked fastball-curveball, but he was efficient and got ahead of pretty much every batter. There’s a common theme here, kids. Pound the zone and be able to throw at least one offspeed pitch for a strike, and you can succeed at this level. “One of the main things we’ve been working on this year is first pitch strikes, cause it just kind of sets the tempo for the at-bat,” he said. “I felt like I had a lot of control. I could use my curveball the way I wanted to and the fastball was hitting spots. I use my two-seamer as a changeup sometimes.”
• North Salem lost ace Tommy Bond to injury before the season started, but the rest of the staff has responded well. Wynne has taken on the role of ace, while others such as MacKenzie, Kevin Zajc and Danny Capra have filled in nicely behind him. “You know something, it’s been a surprise,” Gilchrist said. “Pitching has been a surprise. We lost our No. 1, but he’s coming back this week. Luke, whose a junior, has been pitching well for us and been very consistent. Danny has been pitching well, as has Kevin Zajc, and then right now our No. 1 is James Wynne. He’s been carrying us the last few weeks with Tommy Bond being out, and he’ll be going on Thursday.”
• NS added a run in the fourth on an error to make it 7-0, and then tacked on three more in the sixth. Zajc hit an RBI single in the inning, but Wynne provide the big blow with a mammoth homer over the LF fence. North Salem may be a small school, but its field is pretty big, and Wynne’s homer was a no-doubter. It had to travel at least 320 feet. Probably closer to 340. “He hung it to me,” Wynne said. “And I feel like I got a good piece with the bat.”
• Wynne was the standout today, but his lineup really did hit up-and-down. They finished with 15 hits, with six going for extra bases. Dolce went 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored, Phil Capra had a double, an RBI and two runs scored, and Ledwith had two RBI. “Today was probably the best hitting day that we’ve had all year,” MacKenzie said. “If we can keep doing what we did today, it’s going to be a good year.”
• This team has a good mix of seniors and underclassmen, with the most impressive youngsters being the Capra brothers. Phil is a sophomore catcher who did some really nice work behind the plate, while Danny is a freshman who has kind of been a do-it-all guy for North Salem. They’re both switch-hitters who appear to have very polished overall games for their ages. “Danny is our utility player as a freshman,” Gilchrist said. “He played outfield today, he plays middle infield for us, he pitches for us, he actually caught a game for his brother this year, and Phil is our sophomore catcher. Right now, we’ve got two special players in the program, and those two really make the entire team that much better. We count on a lot from Phil. He slows everybody’s running game down because of his defense — his mechanics and how well he blocks the ball, so he helps us defensively, and we play off of him.”
• North Salem is now 8-0-1 in League I-D, and have a pretty firm grip on first place. Put Valley looked like a contender to start the season after starting 5-0, but they’ve stumbled a bit of late and now sit at 10-7-1. North Salem improves to 11-3-1 overall, and as I tweeted out earlier, NS is probably the most impressive team I’ve seen in Class B, along with Rye Neck. Those are probably my top two contenders at the moment. “Right now, we’re real confident,” Gilchrist said. “I scheduled some hard games for us. All six crossover games were really tough, and right now those games made us more confident, and we think we can play with anybody.”
• 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:
Riverside 15, Port Chester 13: At Port Chester Monday, Khalif Mason went 4 for 5 with three RBI and three runs. Giovanni Caltempa and Carlos Lima each went 2 for 5 with three RBI. Jason Ippolitto went 4 for 5 with two RBI and four runs.
Somers 14, Croton-Harmon 0: At Croton-Harmon Monday, Joe Scambia went 2 for 3 with a triple and three RBI. Joe Festo went 3 for 5 with two runs. J.T. Genovese struck out nine and allowed one hit in four innings for the win. Joe Andriano struck out four in three innings of relief. Mike Hrycko and Scott Giordano each doubled for the Tigers.
Eastchester 24, Hastings 0, 5: At Eastchester, Marc Medico had two home run and four RBI. Devin Merone had a home run and two RBI. Teammate Nick Campana added hree RBI for the Eagles. Winning pitch Kyle Crimmins pitched a one hitter with 11 strikeouts.
Pleasantville 1, Ardsley 0: At Pleasantville, Steve Sicignano drove in Anthony Godino for the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Godinao also had a triple. Winning pitcher Lou Angiolillo pitched a two hitter with two strikeouts. Mike Yodice was 2 for 3 for the Panthers. Teammate Matt Shear allowed three hits and had four strikeouts in the loss.
Rye Neck 4, Keio 0: At Keio, Matt Franks fired a four-hitter and walked just one. Matt Garcia had two hits and Chris Cascione had a double and an RBI. Losing pitcher Riku Kawada gave up four runs, only one of them earned, and three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
White Plains 9, Scarsdale 2: At White Plains, Chris Medeot went 2 for 2 with a two-run triple and a three-run homer. Medeot also struck out three and allowed no earned runs in the complete game win. Raj Palekar had the only RBI for the Raiders. The Tigers will clinch a league title with a win at Scarsdale on Friday.
Fox Lane 27, Byram Hills 6: At Fox Lane Matt Oniffrey had a grand slam, three run homer and and a two run double. Teammates Dion Austrie and Nick Tortorella each had four RBI and a double. Austire also had a triple. Drew Fopena added three RBI for the Foxes. Kellen Hatheway had a home run and three RBI for the Bobcats.
John Jay CR 5, Brewster 0: At John Jay CR, Matt Wilmot-Stroud had two RBI. Winning pitcher Sam Mines pitched a four hitter with nine strikeouts and had an RBI.
Mahopac 4, Carmel 1: At Mahopac, Dan Tully had a double and three RBI. Winning pitcher Kevin Kernan allowed three hits with eight strikeouts in six innings. Mike Bello had a four-hitter with two strikeouts
Harrison 12, Horace Greeley 11: At Horace Greeley, Matt Baker had a home run and three RBI. Drew Estes had four RBI. Teammate Austin Pollack added a double and two RBI for the Huskies. Dean Rosenberg had a homerun and four RBI for the Quakers. Teammate Adam Quine had a home run and three RBI.
Westlake 9, Croton-Harmon 6: At Croton-Harmon, James Grieco came on in relief in the bottom of the first inning with no outs and five runs in and threw what amounted to a perfect game, retiring all 27 Tigers he faced. The first eight Croton batters reached safely against starter Mike McLynn on an error and then seven straight hits. Grieco gave up a sacrifice fly to the first batter he faced, leaving Westlake down 6-2. Anthony Ropunno had two hits, three RBI and two runs scored for the Wildcats.
Beacon 4, Yorktown 3, 8: At Yorktown, Ryan Frost scored on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth for the winning run. Nick DiNapoli homered in the top of the seventh to tie the game. Bryan Horgan went 2 for 3 with a solo homer for the Huskers. Frank Fusco struck out nine in six innings and allowed two earned runs.
Somers 23, Lakeland 12: At Lakeland, Anthony Diana went 4 for 5 with a home run and five RBI. Stephen Danko added three RBI. Chris Conklin and Matt de Marte had three hits apiece for the Hornets.
Rye 3, Port Chester 0: At Port Chester, Luke Meyerson pitched a three-hitter — singles by Jason Ippolito, Mike Thogerson and Trevor Chambless — and struck out eight. Tim DeGraw had two hits and drove in two runs.
Haldane 6, Peekskill 1: At Haldane, John Rotando and Kenny Doxey each had two RBI. Jason Zeboris had two doubles and an RBI for Peekskill.
Blind Brook 5, Hamilton 2: At Hamilton, Eric Handelman went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs. Jason Thompson had an RBI for Hamilton.
North Rockland 8, Clarkstown South 1
Hen Hud 4, Panas 2