Neither coach had been involved in such a game, yet neither could stop talking about the 85-minute pitcher’s duel afterward, waxing poetic about the two hurlers’ cumulative performance.
Fort Hamilton ace Franciel Campusano tossed a no-hitter on April 28, pitching his best game to date against the Tigers’ stiffest competition. Yet James Madison right-hander Eddie Lenahan did him one better, tossing a complete-game shutout in the host Knights’ 1-0 victory in a battle of Brooklyn division leaders.
“It’s a first for me,” Fort Hamilton coach Al Casciani said of losing a game when his pitcher threw a no-no. “Hopefully it’s my last.”
Second baseman Joe Abadia came around to score on first baseman Daniel Mendez’s throwing error in the sixth inning, the only run of the pitcher’s duel. Abadia led off the frame with a walk and was in motion when designated hitter Matt Ecock laid down a sacrifice bunt. Ecock was thrown out at first and Abadia took off for third. When Mendez’s throw went wide, the junior scored.
“We work on that play – not the way it ended up – but we work on going from first to third on a bunt,” Madison coach Vinny Caiazza said. “Earlier in the game, I told one of my coaches we are gonna win the game on a bunt.”
The game lasted less than 90 minutes, each pitcher tossing up zeroes despite throwing in cold and windy conditions.
Lenahan yielded a first-inning single to catcher Tamel Galan, but didn’t allow another hit the rest of the way. He walked just one and struck out eight. Campusano, a hard-throwing left-hander, meanwhile, didn’t allow a single hit. Madison (8-0) came close several times. In the first, centerfielder Joe Calascione hit a rocket off Campusano’s foot that ricocheted to second baseman Johnny Faison Jr. Lenahan was robbed by Faison and rightfielder Franklyn Perez.
“Both guys threw strikes, both defenses played well. You couldn’t ask for a better game,” Caiazza said. “It’s easy for me to say because I came out on the winning end.”
In defeat, Casciani praised his junior-heavy club. Fort Hamilton (6-1) went 12-4 last year, a six-game improvement. The coach called this a significant test considering Madison has owned Brooklyn the last few years and reached the semifinals last spring. Up to this point, the Tigers had been beating up on the dregs of the borough, so he told his players beforehand it was an opportunity to show themselves and the rest of the city what they were made of.
“Every year you have to find that defining game [to figure out] how good you are, and this was extra special,” he said. “They should be proud of themselves, but not content.”