An extremely even pitching/defense match up made for an intense seventh inning in Boys of Summer 17u American division play. The Titans would score a go-ahead run off a double from incoming senior outfielder, Tony Figliarulo.
The go-ahead run would come after a leadoff single from leadoff hitter, Marc Birbiglia, would be extinguished by a double play with a bang-bang play at first going in Team Reyes’ favor. A two-out walk from their three-hitter, Steve Pantano, kept the inning alive and a pinch runner stole second to set the table for Figliarulo.
The Titans were able to collect leadoff hits in three of the seven innings, but the strong Reyes defense was able to hold the Titans in check extinguishing every leadoff single.
“My approach stayed the same, just waiting for the fastball,” said Figliarulo. “He just gave me a good pitch to drive.”
He would drive a towering fly ball to right field close to the foul line that would drop in for a stand up double scoring the runner easily.
This was Team Reyes’ starter, Stan Beltre’s one mistake as he was able to go the distance. He would go seven strong innings with one earned, four Ks, a walk and five hits. Unfortunately, one mistake was the difference in this one as incoming senior at Kellenberg, Joe Darcy, was able to control the game over five and two thirds strong scoreless innings. The tall right-hander struck out five, walked three, and only allowed two hits. Sound defense also was crucial for Darcy and the Titans success.
“It was great out there, a competitive game, that’s what baseball is all about,” incoming senior Darcy said. “I just want to keep on learning and keep on getting better.”
However, LHP Mike Kneessey, who entered the game in the sixth after Darcy surrendered a two-out walk, would earn the win. Kneessey struck out the next batter but experienced a much different inning in the seventh.
He would surrender a leadoff walk to Beltre, who would end up being a big part of the Reyes offense too finishing 1-for-1 with two walks and a stolen base. A wild pitch would put him on second with no one out. Team Reyes four-hitter Alex Vargas would execute a perfect sac bunt advancing Beltre to third with one out. It was up to their five-hitting third baseman, Elian Pimentel, who smoked a grounder to third on a pitch that Beltre was barreling towards home on.
The Titans third baseman would rifle the ball in and Beltre, who was out by a couple steps, attempted to hop over the Titans catcher, Matt Ayala. Ayala would apply the tag and hold on to the ball to make it two outs in the bottom of the seventh shutting down Team Reyes’ momentum.
“The sinker I was throwing was producing a lot of ground balls,” Darcy said. “It’s my go-to pitch; it’s my bread and butter.”
Darcy would retire seven Reyes batters by way of the grounder in an all around dominant performance.
Team Reyes is set to pick up play Saturday at Mercy HS against LI Strong at 2 p.m. LI Titans Giaco aren’t scheduled to play again until Wednesday, July 19 against LI Marlins, First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. from Bayport Blue-point HS.