Baseball Eliminated from Skyline Tournament
Farmingdale, N.Y. – The #3 seeded St. Joseph's College baseball team (21-21, Skyline 12-4) was eliminated from the 2012 Skyline Conference Tournament at the hands of the #2 seed Panthers of Old Westbury (28-11, Skyline 12-4). The Panthers defeated the Eagles in two games (one Friday and one Saturday) to eliminate them from the post-season affair. St. Joseph's beat the #4 seed Knights of Mount Saint Mary (21-17, Skyline 10-6) inthe 1 p.m. game Saturday, sending them home with their second loss of the tournament.
On Friday night, St. Joseph's sent ace Jason Dierkes (Mount Sinai, N.Y. / Mount Sinai) to the mound to start off the double-elimination part of the tournament. The Golden Eagles jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning from an RBI triple by Brian Hannigan (West Babylon, N.Y. / St. John the Baptist), RBI single from Prateek Thaman (Hauppauge, N.Y. / Hauppauge), and a two-run single by James Carey (Patchogue, N.Y. / St. John the Baptist). Old Westbury answered with five in the bootom of the first and four runs each in the bottom of the second and third.
With St. Joseph's plagued by errors and the inability to throw out base runners, Old Westbury jumped to a 13- 7 lead at the bottom of the fourth. The Eagles cut the lead to 13-10 in the top of the sixth off a triple by shortstop Seth Pileggi (Smithtown, N.Y. / Smithtown Christian) and a sacrifice fly by leftfielder Charles Zilnicki (Riverhead, N.Y. / Riverhead). The Panthers would hold onto lead and hand the Eagles their first loss with the 15-11 victory.
With one loss already on their ledger, Saturday marked two critical do-or-die games. Mount Saint Mary and St. Joseph's faced elimination and needed a win to stay alive to face the loser of the Farmingdale Old Westbury match-up. Michael Napoli (Riverhead, N.Y. / Shoreham Wading-River) started for St. Joseph's in his and won his biggest game of the season, pitching 7.1 innings, striking out five, and allowing only two earned runs. He was backed by the strong hitting of Charles Zilnicki, who drove in two runs, and Seth Pileggi, with two hits.
The game was close throughout and went into the eighth inning tied 2-2. The Knights scored one in the top of the eighth off a passed ball by the catcher. St. Joseph's started a two-on two-out rally in the bottom of the inning, starting with an RBI single through the right side by Prateek Thaman. An error by the shortstop allowed Rich Pecoraro (Hampton Bays, N.Y. / Hampton Bays) to score the go ahead run, and Zilnicki added an insurance run through the right side. Jonathan Beekman Longwood, N.Y. / Ridge) closed out the game with a quick ninth inning to seal the come-from-behind, 5-3 victory for St. Joseph's.
The win led to a rematch of Friday's game against the Panthers. St. Joseph's had little time to celebrate the win over the Knights; starting the second game against Westbury at 4:55 p.m. Sophomore Mike Bazoge (Medford, N.Y. / Patchogue-Medford) took the mound for the Eagles with their backs against the wall, but the Panthers scored four quick runs in the top of the first, ending the starter's day earlier than expected. St. Joseph's answered back with two of their own in the bottom of the inning off an RBI double by Pecoraro and a single by Thaman.
Old Westbury tacked on five more in the top of the third, to go up 9-2, and never saw the lead shrink. The Golden Eagles couldn't figure out OWB's Ryan Bresnahan and only managed six hits as he finished with the complete game. The Panther batters hitters tagged SJC pitchers for 15 runs and 20 hits in the 15-4 win, and thus elimintating St. Joseph's from the tournament.
St. Joseph's now awaits to see if they are choosen to play in the ECAC Metro Tournament, with selections to be announced Monday, May 7.