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Stepinac over Mount 6-3

Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by dbutler

Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays.

“The worst day of the week to play a game is a Monday,” Archbishop Stepinac baseball coach Pat Duffy said. “Even though we had practice yesterday they had their Mondayitis going and I’m going to kick their (butt) today to try and fire them up. We’re going to practice real hard tomorrow no matter what the weather is.”

And that was after Stepinac defeated Mount St. Michael, 6-3, in a CHSAA Class AA Bronx/Westchester division game in White Plains.

“We won, we beat a division rival, it’s my alma mater, whatever,” a disappointed Duffy said. “The fact is I’m not happy with the chemistry right now. I thought we’d have a lot more intensity – all those opportunities missed.”

 

Indeed, when the Crusaders scored three runs in the first inning, two on a costly two-base throwing error by Mount leftfielder Jakeel Daniels, it appeared the rout would be on. Instead, Stepinac (3-1) found itself in a game when Mount designated hitter Adam Denker belted a two-run home run over the left-field fence in the top of the fourth.

“When we have a lead, we’ve got to tack on and we’re not doing that,” Duffy said. “We’re not blowing teams out.”

As one of the Crusaders senior leaders, Adelphi-bound Donato Signore decided it was his time to light a fire under his team. His one-out double to left center sparked a three-run, six-hit explosion in the bottom of the frame and Stepinac took a 6-2 lead into the final three innings.

“I think that’s what woke us up because then everyone started coming around, we scored a couple more runs that inning and I felt a little safer with that lead,” Signore said.

However, Mount (1-2) rallied again, scratching across a run in the sixth and forcing Duffy to bring in Signore, the team’s closer and starting third baseman, for the seventh.

“I didn’t want to go to Donato with Fordham and Iona coming at the end of the week,” Duffy said. “Those are big games, but unfortunately they kept the pressure on us.”

Signore, though, loves pressure and he faced plenty of it in the seventh as Mount loaded the bases with two outs, bringing up Denker, who also doubled and scored, to the plate.

“I felt like I had to come in as a leader and hopefully shut the game down,” Signore said.

The senior did just that, striking out Denker with a slider. Stepinac picked up its third league win of the year, but there was no post-game celebration. While his team is making the plays defensively, the Crusaders offense, and especially their killer mentality, is severely lacking, according to Duffy.

“We’re not approaching the at-bats the way I want it done,” Duffy said. “I’m getting about 50 percent compliance right now. I think if they listen and buy into my philosophy, we’re going to score a lot of runs. We put up six today, but we should have had 10. In the All Hallows game [a 10-8 win] we put up 10, we should have scored 14 because the approaches are bad, they’re swinging out of their shoes.”

dbutler@nypost.com

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