Twice during Tuesday’s game against Carmel it looked like things could snowball out of control for Mahopac starter Anthony Lenahan, and twice the senior left-hander made big pitches (or plays) to keep his team in the game.
“He did a phenomenal job,” coach Chris Miller said. “You can’t ask for anything better than what he did out there today. He got ahead of hitters, kept them out in front with his curveball and his changeup. Carmel is a good hitting team, and they hit a couple of shots off of him in the gap, but whenever they did, he managed to settle himself and get the next guy out.”
Lenahan ended up giving the Indians a huge complete game performance, striking out nine to help Mahopac hold on for a 3-1 win to complete the season sweep of its biggest rival. He’s considered to be the Indians’ third starter, but he pitched like an ace today.
“After the second inning, I started to settle in,” Lenahan said. “I let up the run in the second inning, but then I started mixing in my changeup, and that’s when I really started to get comfortable.”
• Lenahan (pictured to the right) got into trouble right away, loading the bases with a two-out walk in the bottom of the first. But he got the next batter to fly out to right, and somehow managed to keep the game scoreless. “That’s huge,” Miller said. “When you get in that situation, a hit is two runs, or maybe a big inning. To get out of that with nothing makes us feel good about ourselves, and gives Squints a lot of confidence that, you know what, even if I get in a jam, I’ve got the stuff to get out of it. That confidence kind of propelled him through the rest of the game.”
• Lenahan – or Squints, as his teammates call him – did surrender a run in the second on an RBI single from Matt Valentinetti, but that would be it for the Rams. They outhit Mahopac 7-5, but couldn’t come up with hits in the big spots to drive in a few more runs. “Yesterday against Brewster we had some guys on with a chance to win a game and we didn’t, but that’s just when you’re going well,” Carmel coach Bob Shilling said. “I don’t get upset about that, just as long as the kids are putting forth the effort, and we’re getting that. Baseball is funny that way. When you’re doing well, those bleeders will drop in, but today and yesterday we kind of struggled with it.”
• Carmel starter Mike Bello was outpitching Lenahan through the first four innings, but the Indians finally got to him a bit in the fifth. Christian Riefenhauser led off the inning with a booming double off of the netting in left field to get them going, with the tying run eventually scoring on an error. Riefenhauser got a good piece of it and I thought it might be gone off the bat, but Carmel’s home field has nets that go up maybe 20 feet above the outfield wall, and the ball is still playable if it bounces off. (Today was actually my first time at that field, and I thought it was one of the nicer ones that I’ve seen in Section 1). “I thought that was gone – I really did,” Riefenhauser said. “I was about to scream.”
• After Mahopac tied the game in the top of the fifth, it appeared that the Rams might retake the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Ryan Dougherty tripled with one out, setting the table for Mike Palmiero. With an out already recorded and Palmiero being Carmel’s cleanup hitter, I wasn’t necessarily thinking suicide-squeeze, but Shilling was. Unfortunately for him, so was the Indians’ first baseman for the day – ace pitcher Kevin Kernan. He gave Lenahan a bit of advice in the event that Palmiero tried to bunt, and when he did, Lenahan was able to get him to pop it up and threw to third to snag a retreating Dougherty for the double play to end the inning. Easily the most important play of the game. “My first baseman Kevin Kernan actually said, ‘If he squares (to bunt), just throw it high,’ ” Lenahan said. “I kind of felt like it was coming, and then I saw him squaring and just threw it high, and he popped it up. I was able to make the throw to finish the double play. It was a big play.”
• Here’s Shilling on the play: “I tried the squeeze. The kid Palmiero has been great all year, but it looked like he struggled against the lefty. We tried to get a run in and it backfired, but I would do that again.”
• The unorthodox double play set off a roar from the Mahopac dugout, and the momentum carried over into the next inning. With one out, Bello hit John Delahanty with a pitch and walked Dylan Love. Mike Komendowski followed with an RBI single, and Riefenhauser added a base-knock of his own with two outs to give the Indians a 3-1 lead. “I think that’s the key to baseball,” Miller said. “Everybody seems to get guys on, but then it’s about who’s going to get that next hit – that big hit to get the run across, and that’s been a situation for us all year, where sometimes we get it, and sometimes we don’t… When you play these 3-1, 3-2 games, that’s always going to do it. Who gets the clutch hit with the runner in scoring position?”
• Lenahan finished the game strong, striking out the side in the seventh. He’s a lanky southpaw with a smooth delivery, and he seemed to mix his offspeed pitches in more as the game went on. That clearly worked to his advantage. His final line was: 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 99 pitches (68 strikes, 31 balls). “I usually tend to get stronger later in the game,” Lenahan said. “In the beginning, I was throwing a lot of fastballs away and they started catching on. Then I started mixing in my changeup, and that really got them off balance.”
• Lenahan’s performance may have overshadowed Bello’s a bit, but I was really impressed with what I saw from Carmel’s ace (pictured to the right). He had a nice breaking ball and used it to work backwards, which I think is something we don’t see enough of at this level (most pitchers try to get ahead with the fastball, which can be dangerous if a guy is sitting on it). Unlike Lenahan, Bello seemed to lose a bit of his sharpness later in the game, but he showed the ability to get guys out pretty consistently. His final line was: 7 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 5 K, 113 pitches (69 strikes, 44 balls). “We lost all of our pitching, and he’s been the kid that we go to, whether it’s to close a game or a big start,” Shilling said. “I’m really proud of him. He had the one inning where he maybe lost a little focus with a couple of walks, but that happens… He’ll be our starter come sectionals for the first game.”
• While Carmel has to feel pretty good about its No. 1 pitcher, Mahopac has three to feel really good about. Lenahan is considered the No. 3 behind Kernan and Dylan Jorde (Kernan is only a junior and is having a great year), which will make them a dangerous team to face come playoff time. Each of the three has started one of the last three games, in which the Indians have allowed a total of two runs. “The pitching staff for us all year has been awesome. We don’t really get blown out,” Miller said. “We’re always in the game. It’s whether or not offensively we can generate enough runs. Today, we did and yesterday against Somers we did, but on Friday against Somers we didn’t.”
• As Miller eludes to, scoring runs will be the primary concern for this club when the postseason begins next week. They do the little things well, but a slugfest is not the kind of game that Mahopac wants to get involved in. “Everybody has been trying our best to hit, but our pitching has been very good,” Riefenhauser said. “If we could get a little stronger with the bats, we’ll be a pretty good team.”
• One of the Indians’ top bats was missing from the lineup today. SS Dan Tully was out with a stiff neck, but Miller said that it was just precautionary. They expect him back tomorrow.
• This win keeps Mahopac alive for a league title with a 6-2 mark in the league. John Jay is in first place with just one league loss (JJCR beat Brewster today), but while Mahopac is done in league play, JJCR still has two more to play against Carmel. If John Jay losses one of those games, it will tie with Mahopac for a title. If Carmel sweeps, Mahopac will claim the title outright. Even though the Rams are Mahopac’s biggest rival, that won’t be the case for the next few days. “We lost our last game to Somers on Friday, and we were tied with John Jay Cross River before that,” Lenahan said. “We knew we needed to win this game in order to have a shot; now we just need to root for Carmel, even though they’re our rival, to beat Cross River at least one of the times to at least get a share of the title.”
Here are the rest of the results that we’ve received tonight:
Iona Prep 10, Salesian 2: At Iona Prep Monday, Nate Estes II had two RBI and a double. Anthony Gigante and Daniel Ormond each added two RBI. Salesian had two RBI.
Harrison 11, Port Chester 6: At Port Chester Monday, Tyler Hart went 2 for 3 with three RBI and two doubles. Matthew Baker went 2 for 3 with a RBI, two runs and a double. Kyle Drummond had three RBI for the Rams.
Tappan Zee 4, Nyack 3, 9: At Nyack Monday, Jeremy Dobbs had two RBI. Chuck Olsen went 2 for 4 with two RBI for the Indians. David Juechter had a RBI. Tim Cuozzo went 2 for 3.
Mahopac 3, Somers 1: At Mahopac Monday, Ty Lawrence had two RBI. Teammate Dan Pagulica was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Winning pitcher Kevin Kernan had 10 strikeouts, Jack Ward had an RBI for the Tuskers. Teammate Joe Scambia was 3 for 3.
Eastchester 5, Yonkers 2: At Eastchester, winning pitcher Kyle Crimmins had 11 strikeouts. Mike Milo had three RBI. Jack Daly had a double and two RBI. Phil O’Leary and Kyler Bryant each had an RBI for Yonkers.
Ardsley 12, Hastings 1: At Ardsley, Matt Shear pitch a complete game giving up one run with 10 strikeouts. Carlos Monserrate went 2 for 3 with three RBI and a run. Eric Scaperrotta had two RBI and Dylan Resk went 3 for 3 with three runs, a RBI, and a double. John Wilt had one RBI and a double for Hastings.
Tuckahoe 11, Yonkers Montessori 0: At Yonkers, Mike Arbon had two doubles and two RBI. John McGrath had a double and two RBI. Brandon Zingaro was the winning pitcher.
Clarkstown South 5, Clarkstown North 2: At Clarkstown North, Jack Perez had two RBI. Mike Doddy and Jack Kelly each had an RBI for the Vikings. Robert Donnelly and Kevin Kolesar each had an RBI for the Rams.
Irvington 20, Dobbs Ferry 3: At Irvington, David Erosa went 4 for 5 with a double, a triple and six RBI. Manny Figueroa had a double and four RBI. Rafelin Brito had a triple and three RBI. Matt Crowe had a double and two RBI for Dobbs Ferry.
Fox Lane 14, Horace Greeley 3: At Fox Lane, Anthony Shkrelja had a grand slam in the first inning. Richard Slenker had a home run and two RBI. Winning pitcher Andrew Workman allowed two hits over five innings. Drew Fopeano had a double and four RBI. Ryan Bailey had two RBI. Kenny Hayden had a double, a triple and an RBI. Quinn Carter and Conor Walker each had an RBI for the Quakers.
Sleepy Hollow 15, Bronxville 1, 6: At Sleepy Hollow, Roniel Munoz went 4 for 5, homered and drove in five RBI, Edwin Lopen drove in two runs and picked up the win, striking out six and giving up two hits and no runs in five innings for the Headless Horsemen. Niko Doukas doubled and drove in Bronxville’s run.
Mamaroneck 12, Mount Vernon 2: At Mamaroneck, Matt Marino and Richie Barrella each drove in two runs, junior Zack D’Alba hit his first varsity home run and Michael Adler picked up the win for the Tigers, striking out seven and giving up two hits. Ramel Fallins homered and drove in both Knights’ runs
Pearl River 7, Tappan Zee 2: At Tappan Zee, Chris Beers and John Doherty each had three hits and Chris Flood drove in two runs. Kevin Considine pitched six innings to earn the win. Tom Morales and Matt Scherf each had an RBI for the Dutchmen.
North Salem 3, Peekskill 2: At Dutchess Stadium, Nick Dolce had two doubles and an RBI. Thomas Bond, Luke MacKenzie and Ryan Ledwith combined to pitch a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Richie Simmons allowed five hits and struck out five over six innings for the Red Devils.
John Jay 3, Brewster 1: At Brewster, Anthony Patti and Tyler Keech each had two hits and drove in a run and Trevor Filacchione gave up four hits in recording the victory for the Indians. Dom Pintavalle had an RBI for the Bears.
Port Chester 12, Harrison 9, 9
Kennedy 7, Arlington 6
White Plains 9, Keio 4
New Rochelle 20, Scarsdale 5
Fordham Prep 4, Iona Prep 3
Photos by Peter Carr/The Journal News