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Crusaders move to 9-1 with win over Iona

Posted Thursday, May 07, 2009 by lohud.com

Seven runs in the seventh propel Stepinac past Iona


I have to make this quick, but here’s the dirt on Stepinac’s 8-1 win at Iona Prep today:

The game was a pitchers’ duel for six-plus frames between Iona’s Stephen Roche and Stepinac’s Michael Bradshaw (right). Roche struggled mightily with this control in the first, but settled in and began to dominate Joba-like. Roche hit two and walked two to allow a run in the first on no hits, but he proceeded to one single and three walks over the next five innings. His stuff was electric.

On the other side, Bradshaw, pitching against his old school, basically matched Roche. The Gaels scrapped five hits off Bradshaw, including an RBI single in the third by Cristian Fiorito, who’s two-out hit tied the score 1-1, but the big junior mostly mowed down batters. He allowed a single to Kevin Barnett in the fourth that would’ve put Iona Prep ahead by a run but Steve DePompeis gunned down John Barbezat (the courtesy runner for Tyler Donovan) at home to keep the game tied (photo on left).

It appeared to be a stalemate, but in the seventh Stepinac finally broke through, and broke through in a major way. The Crusaders reaped the reward of working Roche early in the game. With his pitch count climbing, the senior righty began to tire in the seventh. He got the first out before loading the bases on three walks, the last of which was intentional after he fell behind Anthony Muccio 3-1 with runners at second and third.

The drama finally came to a head with Stepinac’s sensational junior, Steve Martinez (above), at the plate. Martinez, who had a couple tough at-bats against Roche earlier, drove a 1-0 fastball over Pete Ladis’ head in left field. It cleared the bases, knocked Roche out of the game on his 110th pitch of the afternoon, and sparked Stepinac’s seven-run seventh.

Coach Fred Gallo told me something all too true: The walks and hit batsmen earlier in the game forced Roche to throw too many pitches. By the seventh, Stepinac finally burned him.

Bradshaw finished the game to earn the complete game victory. He told me he tried to block out the emotions of pitching against Iona Prep, the school he transferred from after sitting out last season, but he simply couldn’t. “This feels great,” he said.

Since the starters were such a major factor in the decision, here are their lines:

Bradshaw — 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HBP, Win
Roche — 6.1 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 H, 8 BB, 7 K, 3 HBP, Loss

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