Xaverian’s John Bini didn’t know what he was getting himself into while warming up in the Catholic league bullpen before entering the Mayor’s Cup baseball all-star game.
“When I came back everyone said, ‘Hey, don’t blow it,’ ” Bini said.
The Catholic league was no-hitting its Public School Athletic League counterparts as Bini was set to toss the sixth inning. New Utrecht infielder Andrew Nathan was originally credited with a hit in the third inning, but the official score correctly switched it to an error. A change only a few of the players noticed right away.
“I didn’t realize it until the sixth inning when they took it off the board,” Xaverian ace Rob Amato said. “I knew it was an error, but it was crazy.”
Amato tossed a perfect game during the regular season, but his teammates would ultimately have to settle for a one-hitter in a 7–2 victory over the Public Schools Athletic League in the senior showcase game on June 14 at MCU Park in Coney Island.
The lone hit was a double off the bat of George Washington starter Wesley Rodriguez with no outs in the seventh inning. St. Joseph by the Sea’s Mike Russell was on the mound. Rodriguez, who was recently drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, said he didn’t feel any extra pressure to get his team a hit.
“It’s an all-star game, anything can happen,” Rodriguez said. “It’s all fun here, so no pressure.”
Amato said he went in just looking to put up strikes and not make it easy on the opposing batters during a perfect fourth inning.
Bini set three up and three down, including a strikeout in the sixth. They were two of seven Catholic league pitchers used in the game. James Madison standout Chris Karnbach did not allow a hit and struck out two over the first two innings and Telecom hurler Evan Layne also tossed a scoreless frame for the PSAL.
“It was fun to be here with the kids from the Catholic League,” Amato said. “A no hitter in an all-star game would be sick.”
While Amato and Bini did their thing on the mound, Xaverian teammate Nick Meola contributed with his bat. He reached on a fielder’s choice in the third and the first Catholic run came in on an errant throw home on the play. His team opened up the game with a six-run sixth inning that including a two-run single by Salesian catcher Andy Camilo, a Long Island University commit.
Clippers teammate Anthony Scotti started the game at third for the Catholic schools and Abraham Lincoln’s Greg Poleon suited up for the public schools.
Having the city’s best seniors in one place made for a memorable night.
“It’s so much fun doing this,” Bini said. “All of these new guys out there with different jerseys. It was a great experience.”
Watching seven different pitchers combine for a no hitter would have made it that much better, but Amato and his teammates were happy to settle for a win they could boast about.
“It gives us a lot of bragging rights,” Amato said. “Anytime they want to talk about us we can just say we almost no hit them.”