Matt Molbury and Joe Todaro were at the center of a dramatic seventh inning last Saturday afternoon. Attempting to close out a victory, Molbury gave up a three-run double to Todaro and Moore Catholic came away with a wild Game 2 victory.
On Sunday night, back at Kaiser Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University, Molbury and Todaro were again central figures in the finale of the best-of-three CHSAA Class A intersectional qualifying series.
But this time, Molbury redeemed himself, helping lead No. 5 Bishop Ford to a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory against No. 14 Moore Catholic. The Falcons scored what proved to be the winning run on a Todaro passed ball in the sixth inning.
“It’s funny how the game works,” Molbury said. “One day it won’t work for you and the next day it will come back and give you an opportunity again. I was really hoping I would get up again so I could give it back.”
Molbury tied the game when his deep fly ball to center field was lost in the lights by Moore senior Chris Ahearn, allowing two runs to score. Anderson Mateo reached third on the play and would score when Dom Cascella’s pitch squeezed though Todaro’s legs and to the backstop.
“Obviously he didn’t see the ball so there’s nothing you can do,” Moore Catholic coach Nick Doscher said. “When things happen badly, it just happens. Then we almost get out of it, that’s what kills you, that passed ball.”
Cascello was brilliant to that point, giving up a pair of singles through five innings.
“He was doing a great job out there, but I think we were pressing, trying to do too much,” Bishop Ford coach Mike Hanrahan said. “I actually had a talk with the team between innings to calm down and just play the game like we normally would. I think we were trying to swing for the fences.”
Bishop Ford starter Miguel Ariza only allowed two hits through 6-2/3 innings, settling down nicely after struggling in the second inning when the senior walked three, had one balk and gave up an RBI single to Shea Spitzbarth as the Mavericks (10-9) led 2-0.
“I think he was a little nervous, but once he found his release point you saw a different look in his face,” Hanrahan said of Ariza. “He did a great job from that point on.”
Stephen Bove started the Falcons rally with a single to center to lead off the sixth. Esteban Gomez walked on a borderline ball four and Anderson Mateo reached on a bunt single. Molbury sent a shot to deep center, which seemed to be a sacrifice fly. But Ahearn lost the ball in the lights, allowing the tying runs to score.
Once Mateo scored from third, Hanrahan called on Bove to close out the game and he did so emphatically. The Adelphi-bound senior ace overpowered the bottom of the Moore lineup, striking out Joe Acierno looking to clinch the biggest win for Bishop Ford (15-5) in years.
“Once we had the lead, there was no question,” Hanrahan said. “You can’t leave him on the shelf.”
Bishop Ford advanced to the eight-team, double-elimination Class A intersectional tournament on Wednesday, as this paper went to press. It is the Falcons’ deepest playoff run since reaching the 1995 final.
“A win is a win. We’ll take the win because it means we’re advancing to the next round,” Molbury said. “We have completed our second goal for the season and the next goal is the championship.”