Louie DeAngelis didn’t just make a game-saving diving catch in the bottom of the seventh to seal Xaverian’s 5-4 victory against John Adams in the Monroe Tournament semifinals Thursday morning.
The junior right fielder also got a free lunch out of it.
“At first, I thought it was right to him,” Xaverian pitcher Frank Kaplan said. “But then I saw him come in and he made a great play. I’m taking him out to lunch after this. I’ll take him to Peter Luger’s for that.”
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the Clippers clinging to a one-run lead, John Adams shortstop Anderson DeLeon laced a ball to right.
DeAngelis, who was moved in by Xaverian coach Lou Piccola, thought he had a beat on the ball, but it started trailing to his right, forcing him to fully extend and make a lunging grab. Before he knew it, DeAngelis was mobbed by his teammates.
“I saw my second baseman coming at me and I felt good,” he said. “I felt like I saved the day.”
“In the third inning, it’s a nice play, but at the end of the game, it’s an all-time play,” John Adams coach Glenn Beyer said.
It was a huge relief for Kaplan, who earned his third save of the Monroe Tournament. After allowing a leadoff walk to Jorge Barahona, the senior struck out Jeffrey Valera and Adonis Castillo, but gave up a single to center by Jose Reynoso and walked Jose Caceres to load the bases.
“Like I said yesterday, wherever they need me,” Kaplan said. “He asked me to come in today, I was shaky, but got the job done. My team gets the ‘W’ and we get to the championship.”
There isn’t a clearly defined closer on the squad, but Kaplan has done a good job in that role in back-to-back saves against Iona Prep and John Adams.
“It was important he was close and around the plate in the last inning, especially against a batter of that size,” Piccola said. “He really pitched terrific in that final inning.”
While DeAngelis saved the day for the Clippers, he wasn’t the only hero Thursday. Speedy leadoff hitter Charles Misiano manufactured runs in the first and fourth and had a stolen base.
“He’s got a great eye and does all the little things a leadoff hitter needs to do,” Piccola said. “He bunts well, he can move over a runner.”
Backup catcher Andres Ruiz drove in two with a single to right-center in the first, Julian Lanfranco’s infield single in the fourth scored Misiano and DeAngelis, who reached on a two-out single to right-center, scored on an error in the fifth.
After balking in a run, Eoin McCarthy was huge out of the bullpen, striking out three straight in the sixth inning with the tying run at third. Starter Anthony Amatuzzi allowed three earned runs on five hits, striking out six with two walks in five innings to earn the win.
John Adams wasn’t considered an elite PSAL squad in the preseason, but reaching the semifinals of the prestigious Monroe Tournament has opened eyes around the city. The Spartans face Tottenville in the third-place game Friday morning at Monroe.
“We can’t forecast what we’re going to do, but we can create it,” Beyer said. “And they’ve actually created a situation where, when you’re lying in bed at night and hope you’re as good as this, they’ve proven it already.”
Xaverian, ranked No. 2 in New York City by MSG Varsity, will face No. 5 Grand Street Campus in the final Friday afternoon at Monroe. The two teams met during pool play with the Clippers pulling out a 4-0 victory.
“Baseball is a game of inches, a game of breaks,” Piccola said. “We made the big play to win a game.”
Xaverian seems to do that a lot.
“You never know who is going to be the guy,” DeAngelis said.
On Thursday, he was.
Contact Dylan Butler at email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter: @Dylan_Butler