Full ‘Steam’ ahead: Saint Ann’s takes opener of critical two-game set with BCS
Though the weather wreaked havoc with last week’s much-anticipated two-game varsity baseball showdown between Brooklyn Heights’ Saint Ann’s and Park Slope’s Berkeley Carroll School, the end result was well worth the wait, especially if you were rooting for the Steamers.
After spending the hours leading up to Thursday’s rain-delayed series opener draining the wet diamond at Red Hook Field, Saint Ann’s coach Peter Zerneck proudly watched as his senior-laden unit took command of the ongoing battle for ACIS/PSAA supremacy by pulling out a wild 8-7 win over the Lions.
“It was a big win for us,” noted Zerneck as the Steamers (7-1) moved one game in front of BCS with Thursday’s series finale (weather permitting) still pending.
“You have to play a good all-around game to beat Berkeley,” Zerneck confessed. “They’re an excellent team and you can’t make too many mistakes against them. I was proud of how we played. It was a lot of fun.”
Something tells me Lions coach Walter Paller didn’t leave the field feeling the same way as Saint Ann’s escaped with the win after a controversial call at home plate.
With the score deadlocked at 7-7 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Oliver Booth delivered a clutch, two-out bloop single that plated fellow senior Jack Harnett with the winning run.
Or did it?
Even Zerneck admitted that the throw home may have beaten Harnett for an apparent force play. Paller protested the call to no avail.
“It appeared the catcher may have had his foot on home before Harnett got there,” Zerneck revealed.
Despite the bitter defeat, Paller took the high road afterward, citing the Steamers’ senior leadership and mental toughness in locking up at least a share of the alliance crown entering this week’s rematch.
Either way, the teams are likely destined to meet during next week’s ACIS/PSAA playoffs, and perhaps again later in the month during the NYSAISS championships.
“It was really a great back-and-forth baseball game,” Zerneck added.
Senior Ivan Zeavin-Moss pitched eight gritty innings and sophomore Lucas Mockler picked up the win by tossing a scoreless ninth for Saint Ann’s, which continued to build momentum for the playoffs with an 11-3 rout of Dwight at Randall’s Island on Monday.
Junior two-way star Anthony Spina continued his torrid season with a game-tying three-run double against the Steamers, but BCS absorbed a 4-3 extra-inning defeat to Ivy League rival Fieldston on Monday for its third loss in four games following a season-opening 11-game winning streak.
Regardless of their recent skid, however, the Lions are still in position to get some revenge on the Steamers this week and make a serious bid to return to the NYSAISS title game, which they lost to Poly Prep last year.
“They’re a consistently good team every year, they play the right way; that’s why it feels good to beat them,” Zerneck said of BCS.
The reigning state champion Blue Devils continued their roll toward a repeat with an 8-0 shutout of Horace Mann on Friday as Morgan Gray spun a four-hitter and Matt Zapata homered and drove in three runs.
By topping Horace Mann and Xavier over the weekend, Poly Prep improved to 11-3 overall and 9-1 in the Ivy. The Blue Devils can capture their sixth consecutive Ivy crown with a home victory over Fieldston on Friday.
Winners of eight in a row, coach Matt Roventini’s squad is also in line to be the No.1 overall seed in the state championships.
Packer Collegiate enjoyed a 10-1 rout of Dwight at MCU Park on Friday as Mikey Savino drove in three runs and scored twice. The Pelicans (10-5) were unable to stretch their winning streak to four games Monday, suffering a 9-2 setback to Riverdale in Red Hook.
Saint Ann’s will host Packer on Wednesday in its final tune-up before its much-anticipated series finale with BCS on Thursday.
While the private school ball clubs are scrambling for position, Catholic School powerhouse Xaverian continues to dominate opponents, rolling to a 10-4 victory over Holy Cross on Monday behind a balanced offensive attack and two perfect innings of relief from Anthony Amatuzzi.
The Clippers improved to 11-0 in CHSAA play and will host Christ the King in Bay Ridge on Thursday.
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