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Crusaders beat Iona 3-0 - to sweep season series

Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 by lohud .com
Stepinac 3, Iona Prep 0 (UPDATED)

Postgame ? So I?ve put my story on the game to bed and it was all about the efforts of two guys, Eric Cuadrado and Anthony Muccio, who teamed to down Iona Prep and Alex Adami today. They helped Stepinac get in position to earn a share of the division title and one of the four coveted top seeds in the city championship tourney.

I was positioned behind the Iona bench so I had a great look at both pitchers. Cuadrado was very sharp, throwing all his pitches for strikes and doing so early in the count. He attacked the Gaels all game, as evident by an inning like the first when he threw just six pitches to record three outs.

Cuadrado mostly kept it up and finished with a four-hitter. He walked two and hit two. There were three times where he faced jams with two runners on and each time he escaped unscathed.

The most impressive was the fourth when Iona Prep had the bases loaded with no outs. As I detailed in the live updates, Cuadrado retired the side without allowing a run, basically erasing any momentum built by the Gaels.

The other key player was Muccio. He had one opportunity ? as he told me later, that?s all you?re gonna get vs. Adami ? and he took advantage, ripping a three-run double off the CF wall that may have given the Crusaders a share of the division title. Afterward, I stopped Muccio while he was raking the dirt around second base. He told me he looked for a fastball after Adami made him look foolish in the first, and that?s exactly what he received. Big, big hit.

As for Adami, it wasn?t his best. He wasn?t popping it the same as normal, but that pop came back in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Still, his performance should?ve been enough. He and his teammates just couldn?t rally against Cuadrado.

Overall, it?ll still come down to Friday?s game between Stepinac and Mount St. Michael. I expect Iona to beat Salesian in its regular-season finale, so the Crusaders must beat Mount. If they don?t Iona wins the division and gets the top seed. (That outcome would surely drive Stepinac and coach Pat Duffy crazy after completing the sweep today.)

An interesting note: Stepinac had the chance to win it today had it not lost 3-1 to Xavier on Tuesday. What happened was scheduled starter Eddie Byrne was sick, missed school and couldn?t pitch. If he pitched, Stepinac may have already clinched the top seed with today?s win. Instead, it?s not quite over.

Ballgame ? Stepinac wins 3-0. Eric Cuadrado threw a four hitter, walking just two. Iona out two on in the seventh but stranded two for the third time in the game.

The Crusaders now are tied with Iona but have the tie breaker after earning the season sweep. Only caveat: They still must beat Mount in the finale to clinch the top seed from the division. More later?

Middle of the sixth ? Stepinac still up 3-0. Iona went down in order in the top of the inning against Cuadrado, who is in the midst of twirling a two hitter.

Unless something changes, the division will be tied but Stepinac will have the turneraker.

End of the fourth ? Boy, what a major disappointment for Iona, which squandered a bases-loaded situation with no outs. Eric Helmrich had loaded them on a broken bat single threw the hole at third. However, Helmrich was then doubled off first when Colin Moran hit a line drive to Muccio, who, from second, caught it and turned two. George Williams the pinch hit for Tyler Donovan, but Williams popped out to SS with runners on second and third to end the threat.
It?s still 3-0 Stepinac.

Middle of the third ? It?s a rematch of Alex Adami and Eric Cuadrado and so far Cuadrado has gotten the better of it. He has thrown three scoreless innings and Stepinac has a 3-0 lead.

The Crusaders loaded the bases in the second on a great bunt by Greg Caruso. On the first pitch Anthony Muccio followed with a three-run 2B to deep CF. There were two outs, so that hit was big.

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