John Jay-EF baseball eliminates Carmel
WICCOPEE, N.Y. — Fool them once, shame on you. Fool them twice? Well, that doesn’t happen very often and it didn’t happen on Tuesday afternoon.
The John Jay-East Fishkill High School baseball team went once through the lineup against tough left-hander Brett Viola of Carmel. Then the Patriots tagged him for four runs in the third inning and four more in the fifth, and John Jay defeated the Rams, 8-1, in the Section 1 Class AA semifinals to advance to the championship game on Thursday night against league and Dutchess County rival Arlington at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill.
The semifinal vs. Carmel was finally called by the umpires with two outs in the top of the sixth inning due to inclement weather, ending a bizarre Mother Nature day. The game was scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. but was delayed 45 minutes by heat, as the on-field temperature rose above the state-mandated cutoff of 96 degrees. In the bottom of the fifth, just as Jay exploded to break the game open, the sky turned a brooding mixture of gray and black, with a bolt of lightning and a rumble of thunder and the heavens opening up for good measure. Shortly after, that was that and the Patriots were in the title game and will look for their first sectional championship in school history.
“It’s a great accomplishment for our team,” John Jay coach Tom O’Hare said. “These boys have worked very hard and the best thing about them is, they listen. They always listen.”
Especially to hitting coach Eric Frink, who has an uncanny knack of picking up flaws in the opposing pitcher on the first run-through the order. Viola struck out the first three Jay hitters he faced, then breezed through the second despite putting two runners on base.
But when John Jay’s 9, 1 and 2 hitters came up to start the third, they were ready. Two singles, a sacrifice bunt and a walk loaded the bases. A wild pitch delivered the first run, and Adam Calabro delivered the rest with a long, three-run home run over the left centerfield fence.
“I’ve said it all year, he’s not your traditional cleanup hitter,” O’Hare said of Calabro. “He didn’t even start the year as the cleanup hitter. But he’s a great contact hitter and when the count went to 3-and-1, I just told him to make sure he turned on one, and he did.”
That was all lefthander Tyler Kardas needed as he shut down the Rams on one run.
“I’m so proud of that kid,” O’Hare said of Kardas. “When we looked at the seeds when the sectionals were announced, we realized that Tyler had faced seven of the top 10 seeds already this year. We felt very comfortable with him.”