School might be out, but that doesn’t mean CHSAA baseball takes a break. On Tuesday in The Bronx, Xavier and Mount St. Michael meet in a CHSAA Class AA crossover game live on MSGVarsity.com at 1:30 p.m.
Xavier is looking to bounce back from a stunning loss in its league-opener, falling to Cardinal Spellman, 2-1, on April 4. In that game, Pilots sophomore Nick Padilla gave up three hits and stuck out eight in six innings.
St. John’s-bound left-hander Nick DiLeo was the hard-luck loser, giving up two runs in a complete-game effort.
DiLeo, who mixes up a lively fastball with a changeup and a curve, is the clear ace on an inexperienced Xavier pitching staff and should be on the mound again Tuesday against The Mount.
A three-year starter, DiLeo is joined by fellow returnee Tito Ovalle, a junior captain and starting shortstop, Alex Tactuk is also back in the outfield and senior Nick Aguilera will be behind the plate.
Mount St. Michael is 0-0 in the CHSAA as its opener against Cardinal Hayes on April 4 was suspended because of darkness with the Cardinals leading 12-10. The game was called with Mount runners at first and second with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning.
That game will conclude following Tuesday’s Mount-Xavier game.
The Mountaineers will need to strengthen their pitching and defense, but has already proven they could hit the ball, led by Jakeel Daniels, Geramy Rosario, Taylor De La Rosa, Michael Rodriguez, Aaron Sosa and Jonathan Cardona, the younger brother of former star Tommy Cardona.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the preseason for Mount was the addition of Najee Brown, a two-way standout on the football field who quarterbacks the outfield from center and is lightning quick on the bases.
“That was a very pleasant surprise,” Mount coach Wally Stampfel said. “He actually played freshman and JV baseball, but last year I think he was concentrating on track and some other things…He may be one of the best defensive center fielders I’ve ever had.”