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Stepinac Beats Iona 8 - 1

Posted Thursday, May 07, 2009 by Keith Richardson

Martinez provides big hit for Stepinac

 

By Josh Thomson • jthomson@lohud.com • May 7, 2009

NEW ROCHELLE - Steve Martinez had two at-bats to forget against Iona Prep's electric right-hander Stephen Roche. Twice he barely made contact. Twice he floated a ball to the second baseman as if they were underhanded tosses to start a double play.

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Despite his struggles, the Stepinac junior knows the order revolves, in part, around him, and a one-out, bases-loaded situation was a spot where the No. 3 hitter simply had to deliver.

Martinez moved ahead one ball in the count. He looked for, measured and crushed a high fastball, lining it over the head of Iona Prep left fielder Pete Ladis for a three-run double.

The hit spurred the Crusaders to a seven-run seventh and led to an 8-1 victory at Iona Prep.

"He's a young guy and he wants to be the big guy," Stepinac coach Pat Duffy said. "He's our three-hitter, he's a junior and he presses sometimes.

"I told him, 'You're a great hitter. Swing the darn bat.' And he put a good swing on it and busted the game open."

Roche had allowed just two hits up to that point, but Martinez found himself in an enviable position after a tiring Roche walked the bases loaded.

"I said, this guy has to come after me eventually," Martinez said. "I just sat back and looked for a fastball. He gave it to me, and I took advantage."

As much as Martinez helped determine the outcome, Stepinac junior Michael Bradshaw gave him the chance. The 6-foot-4 righty allowed five hits to beat the school he used to attend.

Bradshaw sat out last season and transferred to Stepinac for this school year. He was able to suppress his emotions enough to succeed.

"You try to block it out, but when it comes down to it, I used to go to school here," Bradshaw said. "It was (rewarding). This was great."

Bradshaw allowed a two-out RBI single to Cristian Fiorito in the third that tied the score. He also was the beneficiary of a perfect throw from right fielder Steve DePompeis in the fourth that cut down the go-ahead run at the plate after a single by Kevin Bartnett.

Still, Bradshaw struck out five and walked two, and needed just 93 pitches over seven innings. In contrast, Roche hit two and walking two in the first, allowing one run.

Roche settled in, allowing just one hit and striking out five over the next five innings, but a high pitch count was his undoing.

"He has an exceptionally live arm," Iona Prep coach Fred Gallo said of Roche. "But he must learn, and he knows it, that he has to throw strikes, even if he throws it 4 mph less. He threw 110 pitches. The bottom line is, if you don't walk eight guys and hit three, you're at 75 instead."

Stepinac remained in first place in the CHSAA's Bronx-Westchester division with its victory. On Monday, the Crusaders meet Mount St. Michael, the only division rival they lost to all season.

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