Baseball Notebook

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Lakeland sophomore Jason Green and his Hornets advanced to Class A quarters.

Pitching Will Matter More Than Ever in 2018 Post Season

In what has been one of the worst weather-related springs in state history, it was only fitting that Mother Nature would not comply with Section 1’s Class AA and A schedule makers, who saw the first round of the Section 1 tournament washed out on both Saturday and Sunday, forcing Section 1 to move the Class AA and A opening round to Monday, the quarterfinals to Tuesday and semifinals to Wednesday in order to sneak in the championship games on May 26 at Palisades Credit Union Park in Rockland County.

Therefore, in order to win either tournament, it’s going to take three different starting pitchers in all likelihood to get it done; unless managers shorten pitch counts to comply with mandatory rest regulations and roll the dice on abbreviated outings. Yes, this is cruel and unusual punishment, but it is what it is, and reaching the finals just got a whole lot tougher for those that may not have a third reliable arm.


No.6 CARMEL – with senior Matt Vitro and freshman Jack Sullivan — and No.15 MAHOPAC – with seniors Billy Moeller and Anthony Simeone — have two frontline starters that we know all about, so maybe they get hot and get on a run, but RCK is deeper, craftier and better than the average bear in Class AA and remains the favorite on the other side of the bracket, which is good news for the Rams and Indians, who didn’t do themselves any favors with the No.15 seed and an opening-round date with No.2 White Plains.

But that’s bad news for No.9 YORKTOWN, which has three legit hurlers in Anthony Fusco, Alby Cuifetelli and Joe Sgobbo, but nobody in Section 1 has a tougher draw than Coach Sean Kennedy’s Huskers, who draw No.8 Mamaroneck in the opening round, more than likely No.1 RCK in the quarters and maybe No.5 Fox Lane in the semis if they were to survive.

“To be the best you have to beat the best,” Coach Kennedy said.

Good luck with that brutal draw. That said, the other side of the bracket can be had by anyone.


LAKELAND has three arms in sophomores Joey Vetrano, Evan Berta and Jason Green, but, as stated, they are greenish sophomores, who are still more than capable of getting it done in what boils down to a wide-open Class A field. HEN HUD has three quality starters in Thomas Pecchia, Nick Caruso and Matt Imbimbo, but they got themselves an opening-round war with No.15 Walter Panas, who, like No.13 John Jay, is better than their seed says they are. SOMERS has two truly legit arms in junior Logan Carriero and sophomore Austin Wainer, so if they can get something out of a No.3 don’t put it past the upstart Tuskers to make a run. PANAS needs someone to step up behind ace Jack Jempty, but he can bust up a bracket on his own if he’s on his game.


They got some first-round games in on Friday, including No.5 PUTNAM VALLEY’s decisive 7-1 win over No.12 Dobbs Ferry. Senior Brian McBride, who has played a slew of positions, including pitcher, mashed a three-run dinger Eagles ace John Archer, punctuating a six-run fourth frame to support winning hurler T.J. Brescia, who fired a tidy four innings, allowing two hits and fanning eight Eagles. The Tigers were set to hit the road and face No.4 Blind Brook in last night’s quarterfinals. The winner will likely see No.1 Briarcliff, which faces No.8 Irvington.

Not to be slighted was the fact the Tigers came up huge against Archer, one of the preeminent hurlers in Class B.
No.6 Westlake eliminated No..11 CROTON-HARMON, 7-6, in the eighth after the Wildcats scored three in the seventh to force extra frames…

So, here’s how we rate the top eight local teams after a trying regular season and a post-season that has already pushed the limits — without a game being played in the major classes — knowing full well that this one-and-done scenario could come back to burn us (because everybody loves a poll and a snarky remark, right)…

NWE/Putnam Diamond Dude Poll

No.1 CARMEL – You wouldn’t know it by just glancing over the roster, but Coach Hackert’s club is legit and the proof is in the pudding: Carmel (15-6) is the only team in Section 1 to beat RCK and Arlington; whereby they are now battle tested and ready for the Class AA playoff rigors after advancing to quarters with win over Ossining.

No.2 LAKELAND – 12th-seeded Class A Hornets (11-9) are my choice for bracket busters should they figure it out a year ahead of schedule, which they just did in 1st-round upset of Harrison.

No.3 YORKTOWN – Huskers (10-10-1) have wins over Lakeland and Carmel, enough said, but couldn’t survive Mamo in opener.

No.4 BREWSTER — Lowly-seeded Bears shocked No.1 Rye to bust open the Class A bracket behind Mr. McBride, who you best call Mr. after that effort.

No.5 PANAS – With Jempty on the hill, the No.15 Panthers (10-10) can break up a bracket, which they did in 10-2 win over No.2 Hen Hud #HolyMoly.

No.6 PUT VALLEY – Tigers (14-7) have a bunch of arms but they can throw whoever they want at Briarcliff after surviving No.4 Blind Brook, 8-2. Tigers have a puncher’s chance with TJ Brescia on mound.

No.7 SOMERS – 6th-seeded Tuskers (14-6) couldn’t No.11 Nanuet in opening round. Tuskers exceeded some expectations but ouch!

No.8 MAHOPAC – No.15 seeded Indians (7-14) haven’t hit enough but the schedule is brutal when you face RCK, East Fishkill, Carmel and Arlington twice, so they are better than the record indicates.

No.9 HEN HUD – Sailors went 16-4 for a 3rd-straight year, but we’re all pretty tired of the playoff futility so maybe that changes this year. If not, if they don’t make the Class A Final 4, then, well, we might have to call them out, which we will after losing to Panas Monday in opening round.

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