Xaverian has a catcher going to the University of Arizona, a deep and talented pitching staff and a Division I centerfielder. That alone should make the Clippers a contender for the CHSAA Class A intersectional title.
But what really separates Xaverian from the rest of the pack is its tremendous team speed.
That was on full display last week as the Clippers cruised to a surprisingly easy 10-2 victory against division rival St. Francis Prep at the newly named MCU Park in Coney Island.
Xaverian scored five runs in the first, stole five bases and forced the Terriers into a pair of throwing errors in the second that led to two more runs.
“We went from the penthouse to the outhouse and they had a good track team,” St. Francis Prep coach Bro. Robert Kent said. “It was like the Penn Relays.”
Chris Fesler started for St. Francis Prep (0-2), but didn’t get out of the first inning. In fact, the lanky right-hander didn’t record an out before he was pulled for John Siano. J.T. Torres led off with a single and then stole second and third. Vincent Esposito walked and stole second, Eric Kalman was hit by a pitch and Elvin Soto drew a bases-loaded walk.
Kevin Martir followed with a run-scoring bloop single to left, Fesler plunked Thomas Mark and then gave up a two-run single to center by Skylar Ortiz, giving Xaverian (1-0) a commanding 5-0 lead.
“It changed the whole game around,” Xaverian coach Lou Piccola said. “We got good at-bats the first inning, we let [Fesler] go deep in the count, took advantage of a couple of stolen bases. They made a couple of mistakes and we got lucky. St. Francis Prep is obviously a much better team than this.”
The Clippers tacked on two more runs in the second on a pair of two-out throwing errors, Luis Ortiz trotted home on Kelman’s sacrifice fly to left in the third and Skylar Ortiz had the best hit of the day, crushing an RBI double high off the wall in right in the fourth. The first baseman would also score on a wild pitch to give Xaverian a 10-0 cushion.
“We were pumped since we were in school,” Ortiz said. “We couldn’t wait. Beautiful day, MCU Park, what more can you want?”
If Steve Pastrana had any nerves about making his first varsity start, a five-run cushion after the first inning alleviated that. The junior ace allowed one unearned run on three hits, striking out five with just one walk in five innings to get the win. The Clippers also turned a pair of inning-ending double plays in the first and third to snuff out early St. Francis Prep potential rallies.
“His change-up was effective, it was right over the zone, a lot of movement and his fastball snuck up on hitters,” Soto said of Pastrana. “He came in calm. He just got a little shaken up after his error [in the fifth], but he was just perfect today.”
So was the opportunistic and quick Xaverian lineup.
“They’re all fast,” Kent said. “They put pressure on the infielders and come out of the batters’ box hard.”