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Gritty Sigismondi helped will Xaverian to crown

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No one will describe Anthony Sigismondi as “dominant” in the traditional sense. The adjectives will be more like “winner,” “competitor,” and “leader.” But those attributes were more than enough.

The Xaverian senior right-hander doesn’t have an explosive fastball. He relies heavily on throwing his off-speed pitches for strikes and the defense behind him. That coupled with his enormous heart and spirit allowed Sigismondi, who was named the playoffs’ most valuable player, to earn wins in three of the Clippers’ seven elimination games during the team’s improbable Catholic Class AA baseball championship run.

It was capped by being the winning pitcher in Xaverian’s 6–4 Game 2 victory over Archbishop Molloy in the final at St. John’s University on Wednesday night. Sigismondi allowed just four hits and struck out six.

While there was a host of playoff heroes, none of that would happen if Sigismondi didn’t toss a 1–0 gem against Iona Prep’s Villanova-bound ace Ryan Doty the game after a 10–0 shellacking by Kennedy Catholic in the double-elimination tournament. Sigismondi came back to hold top-seeded St. Joseph by the Sea to just two runs over nine innings in the semifinals.

He was completely unfazed by Molloy’s attempt to rally in the bottom of the sixth in the clincher. Xaverian coach Frank Del George said Sigismondi appeared more in control of his emotions than even he was as the Stanners were slicing the lead to 6–4.

“He’s looking at me as to say, ‘Don’t worry about this. I got this under contro,’ ” Del George said.

It’s been that way every time Sigismondi took the ball with the season on the line. His lone playoff loss came against All Hallows in Game 2 of the best-of-three series. Sigismondi wasn’t letting anyone else finish what he started back against Iona. Sigismondi easily retired Molloy in order and was mobbed by his teammates on the mound.

“I had to finish it,” Sigismondi said. “He wasn’t taking me out. I wasn’t letting him.”

Nor was he going to allow Xaverian’s season to end without a title after Robert Amato pitched the team to a victory in Game 1. Sigismondi never bought into the perception that 2014 had to be a rebuilding season for the Clippers, despite their inexperience or that the early pick was Sea against Molloy for the title.

“We weren’t even supposed to be here,” Nierva said. “No one counted us in here.”

No one but Xaverian’s team. Sigismondi made just sure they were right.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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