Christmas came really early for the Clippers on a 40-degree spring day.
Xaverian’s baseball team capitalized on Monsignor McClancy mistakes for four runs in the bottom of the seventh, leading to a thrilling 4–3 walk-off win in the Catholic High School Athletic League in Bay Ridge on April 6. Even the team’s coach said the surprise win felt like Santa had dropped by.
“It’s a gift, no doubt about it,” Clippers coach Frank Del George said.
Xaverian needed to rally, because it managed just one hit off McClancy ace Charlie Neuweiler, who stranded six runners over as many innings.
“Our guys were trying to work the count as best as they possibly could,” Del George said.
Neuweiler left the game, and the Clippers loaded the bases with two out against reliever Ryan Neuweiler (Charlie’s twin brother) in the sixth, but a strikeout ended the threat.
Xaverian ace Alex Passarella dominated over four innings, striking out five and allowing only an infield single. In the fifth, McClancy’s Justin Mateo singled on a mistake off-speed pitch to put two on with one out.
The Crusaders eventually got an RBI single from pinch hitter Daniel Rafferty and a two-run single from Ronald Clinton to take a 3–0 lead.
Clippers reliever Andrew Watters kept it there with two scoreless innings of relief. He wiggled out of a two-on and no-jam in the top of the sixth by getting Ryan Neuweiler to ground into a double play. The emotion carried over to the offense.
“Once I got out of the next inning, after that, I felt like a comeback was coming,” Watters said.
Xaverian loaded the bases with two outs thanks to two walks and bloop infield single by Domenic Raphael. A Crusaders shortstop error on a routine ground ball brought Joseph Scaramuzzino home and brought cleanup hitter Xavier Vargas to the plate. The first baseman lined a fastball down the middle for a two-run single to right to tie the score at 3–3.
“Once I saw that misplay throw-away at second base, I said, ‘Now we got a chance,’ ” Vargas said. “When the opportunity comes to play, I am going to come up and do my job.”
Pinch runner Ralph Flick stole third and the catcher’s throw sailed into left field. He raced home for the winning run and his teammates mobbed him at the backstop.
“Right when I saw that ball go up, I said, ‘Game’s over — we won,’ ” Vargas said.
Xaverian – with a little help – did just enough to get an important division win. McClancy reached the Intersectional semifinals and may pose the biggest threat to the Clippers winning the Brooklyn-Queens league.
“It was really important,” Watters said. “We got to face one of the top pitchers in the league. I feel like it is momentum for the season.”