Kennedy splits vs. Champion, Brookfield
NILES – With the monkey of an 0-for-3 performance and a double-digit loss to Cardinal Mooney from the day before on his back, John F. Kennedy’s Dominic Naples was ready to break out on Friday.
“I was really struggling in those first three at bats,” he admitted. “Plus, we really needed a win.”
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Naples drilled a 1-0 pitch down the right field line that scored Anthony Marino, lifting the Eagles to an 8-7 victory over Champion.
“It just kept rolling,” Naples said. “It was a perfect spot for him to get there.
“I’m just glad I could come through with a hit that let us win.”
Game 2 of a doubleheader wouldn’t be as favorable.
Brookfield canceled a previously scheduled game with Sharon (Pa.) to play JFK at Eastwood Field. Games between the Warriors and Eagles have been rained out for the past three years.
“Every time we schedule them it seems like we get a monsoon,” JFK coach Don Lee said.
Brookfield rained down with 10 hits, Kennedy slipped up with eight errors and Alex Yourchisn struck out seven as the Warriors won, 13-1, in six innings.
“He’s so consistent,” Brookfield coach Bob Trudo said of his senior pitcher who allowed just two hits. “He just throws strikes and stays around the plate. Good things happen when he’s on the mound.”
Only problem – the Warriors (3-4) have trouble getting on a field. Seven games have been postponed because of weather. They played three games this week for the first time all season.
“We have to keep this going,” Trudo said. “It’s kind of hard when you’re not playing, playing, playing. Once we get going and on a roll, our pitching will be able to hold us in games.”
Lee’s trouble is quite the opposite.
Eagles pitchers, Chandler Diles and Ryan Wolfe, have been limited and new arms have been thrown into the mix. Alec Rossi, a senior catcher who just started pitching this season, earned the win in Game 1, but another senior pitcher, John Hilty, had problems finding the plate. He walked four and threw three wild pitches in two innings.
The defense didn’t help, but neither did four-plus hours of continuous baseball.
“Maybe they were tired,” Lee said. “We kind of stayed away from Saturday games because we’re so loaded during the week. We don’t have the arms to do that.”
Jimmy Quinlan and R.J. Leon had two hits for Brookfield.
“It definitely helps when the bats get going,” Yourchisn said. “I was in a groove and the team really helped out.”
Diles had three RBIs for the Eagles (4-10) in Game 1 and Rossi added three hits. Dante Munno and Anthony Marzullo each had two. For the Golden Flashes (4-7), sophomore Seth Thomas pitched all seven innings, struck out six and had a game-tying hit in the seventh inning.
“He held in there and I expect good things out of him in the future,” Champion coach Tim Cope said.