Close, just not close enough.
Brooklyn enjoyed a sterling season on the diamond, from Madison going undefeated in Brooklyn A West and reaching the PSAL Class A semifinals for the third straight year, to Poly Prep winning its fourth straight Ivy League crown, and Xaverian and Bishop Ford both reaching the final eight of the CHSAA Class A intersectional playoffs.
Yet, there were no champions.
Madison fell to Lehman in the semis, ending a memorable ride. Poly Prep lost in the New York State Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association (NYSAISAA) title game to Collegiate. And in the CHSAA, Xaverian picked up where it left off last year despite a new coaching staff, winning the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens division title and earning the top seed in the Class A intersectional playoffs where they were bounced surprisingly early.
Bishop Ford was the only team to beat the Clippers during the regular season and enjoyed its deepest playoff run since advancing to the title game in 1995.
All-Brooklyn baseball Player of the Year: Richie Carbone, Poly Prep
Five complete games. Four shutouts. Eight victories. Nine earned runs and six walks in 50-1/3 innings pitched. The numbers speak for themselves. The Blue Devils first baseman when he wasn’t on the mound and the team’s third hitter, Carbone almost singlehandedly pitched Poly Prep to its fourth straight Ivy League crown.
The Johns Hopkins-bound left-hander’s finest moment was a complete-game victory over George Washington, a non-league win that showed Poly Prep can play with the city’s best. Carbone, who also beat PSAL Class A champion Tottenville, was a major reason for the emergence of the program the last four years: the four league titles, two NYSAISAA crowns, and a 56-game league win streak that was snapped by Fieldston this spring.
All-Brooklyn Coach of the Year:
Mike Hanrahan, Bishop Ford
Looking for the moment the Bishop Ford baseball program changed? It’s a lot easier than finding parking in Park Slope. It all started when Hanrahan took over. A baseball lifer, he was an all-city player and batting champion at John Jay HS and was a standout at the College of Staten Island. After 17 years of coaching sandlot and travel baseball, the Staten Island native has had measured success at Bishop Ford until this year when the Falcons enjoyed their deepest playoff run in 15 years.
ALL-BROOKLYN FIRST TEAM
P Stephen Bove, Bishop Ford
The Adelphi-bound senior right-hander was dominant for the Falcons, striking out 69 in 81.2 innings with a paltry 0.86 earned run average. He also hit .346 and scored 32 runs, second best on the Falcons. Bove also brings intangibles to the table, including being the school’s valedictorian.
OF Joe Calascione, Madison
Versatile, potent and reliable, Calascione was the Knights’ backbone the last two years, leading the back-to-back Brooklyn A West champions to the PSAL Class A semifinals both seasons. He played a superb center field, produced in the middle of the order – although the speedy unsigned senior was best served batting near the top of it – and typified Madison’s gritty, gamer persona. In five playoff games, he was basically impossible to get out, hitting over .500 with eight RBIs, eight runs scored, and four stolen bases.
P Franciel Campusano, Fort Hamilton
College coaches who make their way to Fort Hamilton usually do so for the school’s elite football program, but that will change next spring. Campusano, a hard-throwing junior left-hander, will be the subject of plenty of attention next spring, by coaches and Major League scouts. He deserves it after a memorable season that included three no-hitters – including one against borough dynamo Madison — five wins, 71 strikeouts, and a 0.95 ERA.
SS J.J. Franco, Poly Prep
Poly Prep’s heartbeat, Franco capped a remarkable four-year varsity career with a bang, leading the Blue Devils to their fourth straight Ivy League crown. Franco sparked the offense out of the leadoff spot – as he did repeatedly during his time at the Bay Ridge school – batting .470 with 35 runs scored, 11 extra-base hits, 13 RBIs, and committing just two errors at shortstop. He was also drafted by the Mets – his father John’s old team – in the 42nd round of the First-Year Player Draft May 9, but still plans to go to college. While Poly Prep lost in the NYSAISAA title game for the second straight year, Franco leaves behind a memorable legacy as he takes the next step in his baseball career at Brown University.
1B Esteban Gomez, Bishop Ford
He entered the season as one of the most feared hitters in the CHSAA and proved why with a stellar year at the plate. The senior first baseman batted .412 with a team-high 42 hits, 12 doubles and 38 runs scored, while walking 26 times. The slugger was selected by the Houston Astros in the 35th round of the Major League Draft, but will likely head to San Jacinto College, the same Texas junior college that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte once played for.
P Eddie Lenahan, Madison
A college coach attended Madison’s 4-2 PSAL Class A quarterfinal victory over 2009 champion Norman Thomas. When Lenahan took the mound, he put his radar gun away and scribbled furiously in his notepad. Lenahan doesn’t put up eye-popping numbers like the city’s other elite arms, but he is just as successful, going 14-1 in two seasons for coach Vinny Caiazza. There may not be a pitcher that does more with less than the hard-nosed Lenahan, headed for the College of Staten Island in the fall. He wins with guile, control and smarts, not stuff.
C Matt Molbury, Bishop Ford
Gomez drew all the attention, but Molbury quietly was Bishop Ford’s most consistent hitter. The Long Island University-bound senior catcher led the Falcons with a .421 batting average and 31 RBIs, a big part of the Falcons Murderers Row. He was also one of the top defensive catchers in the league.
OF Robb Paller, Berkeley Carroll
Even though Berkeley Carroll failed to get back to the NYSAISAA title game, Paller cemented his status as one of the borough’s top talents. He excelled in center field, which isn’t his usual position, was a reliable arm for his father, coach Wally Paller, and was the Lions’ leadoff man and most consistent hitter, batting .425 with 18 stolen bases in 19 attempts, 18 RBIs, and 13 doubles. Fundamentally sound and potent, the uncommitted junior doesn’t have a school has already attracted plenty of interest.
C Elvin Soto, Xaverian
Before even playing his first game as a junior, Soto had verbally committed to the University of Arizona, a rarity for New York City players. The junior switch-hitting catcher was one of the Clippers best offensive threats and already possesses a Major League arm. The Bronx native will be one of the top seniors in the city next year.
CF J.T. Torres, Xaverian
Ask any coach and they’ll tell you the key to success in baseball is being strong up the middle. The Clippers had that thanks, in large part, to the Iona College-bound center fielder. A natural-born leader, Torres was Xaverian’s lynchpin, batting atop the lineup because of his quick bat and even quicker legs.
ALL-BROOKLYN HONORABLE MENTION
P John Browning, St. Edmund Prep
P Eric Cooper, Sr. P/1B St. Edmund Prep
P Matt Ecock, Madison
P Chris Hodgens, New Utrecht
P Jose Zuniga, Grand Street Campus
3B Matt Maher, Madison
3B Kevin Martir, Xaverian
P Joey Martinez, Berkeley Carroll,
CF Anderson Mateo, Bishop Ford
SS Antonio Nunez, Xaverian
1B Skyler Ortiz, Xaverian
OF Franklyn Perez, Fort Hamilton
C Melvin Rios, FDR
OF Chris Sideli, Midwood
Of Stan Simmons, Telecomm