Xaverian made sure not to repeat the fiasco that unfolded the last time St. Francis Prep and Xaverian met, when the Terriers took advantage of a string of defensive miscues in a single inning by the Brooklyn school and walked away with the victory.
“The first game we gave away,” said Xaverian coach Frank Del George. “We were winning and breezing through the game with no problems. But than we walked guys, made four errors in one inning, and gave up all four runs in one inning. That was the end of the first game.”
This time around, it was St. Francis that blew its defense. One bad inning – the second – summed up the afternoon for the Terriers. Xaverian took advantage and ran away with a 13–3 Catholic baseball victory at Cunningham Park last Friday.
“The last five or six games, we’ve put it together.” Del George said.
The Xaverian bats came to life in the top of the second inning and the St. Francis defense had some mishaps that prolonged the inning. The Clippers sent 11 hitters to the plate. They scored six runs on four hits and two hit-by-pitches, and saw St. Francis make two errors.
Xaverian’s offense was led by third baseman Anthony Scotti, who was on base in all four of his plate appearances that afternoon. Scotti was two-for-two with two singles and he reached on an error twice. The third baseman also stole a base, had an RBI, and scored three runs.
Xaverian (6–1) tacked on more runs from there. It scored one in the third, one in the fifth, four in the sixth, and one in the seventh. It was more than enough for Clippers ace Rob Amato. His breaking pitch was dipping and diving in and out of the strike zone all afternoon, keeping the Terriers hitters off balance. John Bini came on in relief. Amato pitched four innings, striking out four, while only allowing two hits.
“I had all pitches working and was trying to throw strikes and get outs,” Amato said.
St. Francis Prep’s struggles at the plate continued, and spilled out onto the field as errors that really hurt their chances of staying in the game against Xaverian.
“We’re not hitting — that’s number one,” St. Francis coach Bro. Robert Kent said. “[Amato] is a good lefty pitcher and we’re struggling with the bats. We had too many first-pitch swing and outs.”
The Terriers offense woke up in both the sixth and seventh innings and St. Francis was able to load the bases in each of the game’s final two innings. St. Francis was able to scratch across three runs, but the offensive awakening was too little too late.
First-place Xaverian, which has won five-straight games, hopes to keep its momentum going. It takes on second-place Holy Cross twice this week, and then faces Christ the King.
“We haven’t played them yet this season, but we’ve heard they’re a good team,” said Amato of Holy Cross. “We just have to play our game, play the way we have been playing, and hopefully we will beat them.”