Varsity Baseball seeding round preview- NY Post

Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010 by nypost.com
 

CHSAA baseball seeding round preview

Last Updated: 11:09 PM, May 25, 2010

Posted: 11:05 PM, May 25, 2010

Comments: 0

The Post’s CHSAA baseball beat writer Dylan Butler breaks down Wednesday’s seeding round games for the Class A intersectional tournament. Both games are at 4 p.m.

The second round of the seeding tournament, which pits the winners of both games and the losers of each game against each other, is Friday at the higher seed.

No. 4 Archbishop Stepinac at No. 1 Xaverian (MCU Park)

No. 3 St. Raymond at No. 2 St. Joseph by the Sea

For live updates during the games, check out Dylan Butler’s Twitter page here.www.nypost.com   go to high school sports

No. 4 Archbishop Stepinac Crusaders

Head coach: Pat Duffy

Xaverian's Vincent Esposito and his teammates hope to be celebrating after facing Stepinac Wednesday.
DAMION REID
Xaverian's Vincent Esposito and his teammates hope to be celebrating after facing Stepinac Wednesday.

Record: 13-5

Probable starter: RHP Christian Huertas, So.

No. 1 Xaverian Clippers

Head coach: Lou Piccola

Record: 16-1

Probable starter: RHP Frank Catalano, Sr.

Outlook: Both teams played in the seeding round last year, Xaverian claiming the No. 1 seed in the Class A intersectional tournament while Stepinac was seeded third. The Crusaders, though, made a deeper run in the playoffs, losing to Fordham Prep in the final.

Many of those players return for Stepinac, which claimed a school record third straight Bronx/Westchester division title last week, and six of the starting nine are standouts from The Bronx, including Steven Martinez, Mike Annunziata and Donato Signore.

The MVP of the team, though, has been catcher Steve DePompeis, who is batting .409 with 27 RBIs, a .650 slugging percentage and has thrown out 21 batters.

“This week and next week is key,” Stepinac coach Pat Duffy said. “If we win a couple of games, get in the winners bracket and take care of business and we get to St. John’s or Fordham and the city championship is on the line, I like our odds.”

Duffy sends sophomore Christian Huertas to the mound at MCU Park to take on Brooklyn/Queens champions Xaverian Wednesday. He’s been the Crusaders ace, going 6-0 with a 1.43 earned run average.

“He throws strikes, challenges hitters, knows what to do with two strikes, holds runners on and he doesn’t get rattled,” Duffy said. “He’s not physically as strong as some of the other guys, so usually have a quick hook on him.”

Xaverian has won in a variety of ways this year, which is something coach Lou Piccola likes heading into the playoffs.

“We have a few weapons,” Piccola said. “We have power, speed and we can nickel and dime you.”

Piccola said he’s seen a positive response from his team after its lone loss of the season, a 9-2 thrashing by Bishop Ford on May 11.

“A couple of guys are hitting the ball pretty good and if we throw strikes, we’ll be pretty good,” Piccola said. “The kids are excited. Hopefully we can get out to a good start tomorrow and we can use our legs a little bit.”

In Arizona-bound junior Elvin Soto, Xaverian has one of the area’s top catchers, Iona-bound senior centerfielder J.T. Torres is a handful when he gets on base and Skyler Ortiz is a dangerous hitter. While ace Steven Pastrana is still nursing a back injury that kept him out of that Bishop Ford game, senior Frank Catalano gets the nod against Stepinac.

No. 3 St. Raymond Ravens

Head coach: Ron Patnosh

Record: 13-5

Probable starter: RHP Ricky Eusebio, Sr.

No. 2 St. Joseph by the Sea Vikings

Head coach: Gordon Rugg

Record: 14-1

Probable starter: RHP Nick Pavia, Sr.

Outlook: This game pits two of the CHSAA’s top pitchers against each other as St. Ray’s ace Ricky Eusebio meets St. Joseph by the Sea’s Nick Pavia in Huguenot.

Eusebio has been slightly more consistent, although Pavia has forged a reputation in the last two years as big-game pitcher.

The Ravens won their first division title in 15 years, beating out Xavier in the final week of the regular season. Like Xaverian, St. Ray’s is a diverse offensive team, able to hit for power and score runs with small ball. Manny Rivera, James Santiago, Jon Crucey, Joe Tellez and Luis Paniagua are all dangerous at the plate, while the Ravens' team speed and instincts on the bases is impressive.

St. Joseph by the Sea has been the definition of consistency, winning a tough Staten Island division title. Sure Pavia is the stud pitcher, but the Wagner-bound senior, who also bats third, is far from a one-man team. Frank Stavola has been a solid No. 2 pitcher, while catcher Joe Stabach has done the job out of the bullpen.

Shortstop Chris Ramanauskas and leftfielder Matt Cangro have been solid at the top of the Vikings lineup, while centerfielder Vin Garcia leads Sea with 14 RBIs. Sea has struggled to score, but has done well to manufacture runs, which is such a key component in the postseason.

dbutler@nypost.com



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