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Crusaders win league opener 2-0 over Moore

Posted Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by silive.com
Archbishop Stepinac
(1 - 0 - 0)

April 14th, 2009
noon

TBA

Moore Catholic
(0 - 1 - 0)
2 0
 
 

Moore Catholic loses opener to Archbishop Stepinac, 2-0

, April 14, 2009 3:27 p.m.

Archbishop Stepinac pushed across two unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a scoreless pitchers' duel and defeat Moore Catholic 2-0 in the CHSAA season opener for both teams Tuesday at the Richmond County Youth Complex, Travis.

It was an atypical afternoon in many respects for the Mavericks, who went undefeated during the CHSAA regular season last year.

Moore usually isn't a team that beats itself, but four errors and a passed ball in the seventh sabotaged senior starter Dillon McNamara, who matched goose eggs with Stepinac counterpart Ed Byrne for six innings.

"I can't remember the last time we've lost an opener ... it has to be at least six years ago. But that's what happens when you don't catch the ball," said Mavs coach Nick Doscher, who only has a few holdovers from a club that reached the league championship game in 2008.

"I was happy with the effort, and Dillon pitched great. But the only main guy who's back is Tommy (Todaro, senior catcher), so that's hard. We have a young team, but we did do a lot of good things today."

First and foremost was the work of McNamara.

The tall right-hander pitched out of first-and-second jams in the fifth and sixth frames to keep it scoreless. But Michael Bradshaw led off the Stepinac seventh with a double to left, and scored when McNamara threw away Ed Martinez's ensuing sacrifice bunt attempt. Martinez took second on an errant throw back into the infield, took third on a sacrifice and scored on a passed ball. The Mavs would make two more miscues but reliever Tim Smith pitched out of any further trouble.

Still, those two runs were more than enough for the Crusaders' Ed Byrne, who retired the final eight batters he faced. The senior righty allowed only three hits -- two to George Quinn -- and escaped a bases-loaded, none-out crisis in the home fifth.

McNamara and Rob Ortiz led off with walks and when Byrne slipped to allow Chris Ahearn to reach on a bunt single, the Mavs were on the verge of breaking through first.

But Byrne quickly fanned No. 9 batter Johnny Ray then induced Brendan Spall to fly to right. Pinch-runner Nick Gonzalez on third didn't tag up right away, and that hesitation cost him -- as Stepinac right-fielder Steven DePompeis gunned down Gonzalez with catcher Martinez applying the tag up the third-base line for an inning-ending double play.

"I think he's going to have a big year for us," Stepinac coach Pat Duffy said of Byrne, who tossed a no-hitter last season against LaSalle, and who is still looking for a college to sign with. "We've had battles with Moore the last four or five years, in the regular season and playoffs, but we hadn't beaten them during that time. To beat a program like Moore on the road is a nice quality win for us and a confidence-booster for the rest of the year."

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