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Posted Saturday, April 12, 2008 by LOHUD.COM

Our first Top 10


Jake and I did our due diligence (OK, OK…we just exchanged e-mails), and with our Vassar (him) and BU-educated minds we were able to slap together the first Top 10 of the season.

As a couple of you pointed out, the sport of baseball tends to laugh at the notion of rankings. Indeed, there are probably teams left off the list capable of beating teams on it given the old cliche of “right place, right time.” And I even thought about dropping the Top 10 all together before remembering: “What fun would that be?”

So here it is. Rip on us if you must…

1. Mamaroneck — The Tigers are ranked nationally, and are now ranked regionally by USA Today. They’ve already defeated Clarkstown North and Arlington, and bring the added bonus of having added Andrew Benkwitt atop an improving rotation. Right now, this is the deepest team in the area.

2. Iona Prep — The Gaels lost a two-time Journal News first-teamer in Chad Salem, but I got the funny feeling yesterday they’ll be even better this year. The offense can really string hits together and can manufacture runs. Plus, with a traditionally strong pitching staff, the Gaels should be hellish to face in a wood-bat game.

3. Stepinac — We know the Crusaders can hit, but I’ve always felt they were light on pitching. Perhaps that’s no longer the case when you consider the one-hitter twirled by Eric Cuadrado yesterday vs. Fordham Prep, plus the likes of Greg Caruso and Greg McBride. This is another deep team. Stepinac-Iona on Friday is a game to watch, for sure.

4. John Jay — I’ve yet to see what the pitching staff has in store past Stephen Green, but I learned one thing from Hastings the last two years: When you hit 1 thru 9, you can win any game you play. Sometimes (heck, most of the time) the pitching just needs to keep it close and get outta the way.

5. Arlington — Everyone says the Admirals can mash. Anyone who gets nine hits off Sean Hagan has made a believer out of me, even if I haven’t seen them play.

6. Ketcham — 7-0 by April 12th? Sheesh, hese guys have been busy. You knew it was only a matter of time before the Indians reloaded, so is this that time?

7. North Rockland — The Red Raiders have pitched like champs so far, but we need to see a little more from them. Two games isn’t much to go on, but Tuesday’s game against Mahopac is huge.

8. Mahopac — Speaking of Mahopac…that was a little too close for the Indians’ comfort on Thursday, but they still have great pitching. Will their offense come around and make them a legit contender in League I-C and Class AA?

9. Kennedy — Much like Somers last year, this up-and-coming team has a chance to knock off Westchester’s No. 1 powerhouse in Iona Prep. The teams meet Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the Nick Ciccone tournament at Iona Prep.

10. Carmel — Throw out a loss to Nanuet and the Rams have looked like a contender again. They’ve hit, and their pitching has improved quickly. I guess the only question mark is what the staff brings after Mike Volpe.

Waiting on deck:

— Somers: Still the defending Class A champs.

— Mount St. Michael: The Mount has talent to burn and will be tough on all clubs not starting Alex Adami.

— Pelham: The Pelicans have bounced back after losing opener.

— Pearl River: The Pirates deserve to be here after beating Briarcliff AND Eastchester already.

To allow your say, I’ve changed the poll. My question: Which bubble team deserves to be in the Top 10?

Although I believe these are the most worthy, I’ll allow you the chance for write-ins. I fully expect freshman phenom Miguel Nunez to earn Top 10 consideration.

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