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CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – The season didn’t exactly start on a high note for John Jay-Cross River. They surrendered a five-run lead and committed six errors in a loss to Walter Panas on Thursday.
“Yesterday we didn’t like what we did when we opened,” John Jay-CR coach Geoff Curtis said. “But the great thing about baseball is that you get to play again tomorrow. If we were playing football we’d be stuck waiting seven days to get this all out.”
They got everything out and then some.
John Jay-CR jumped on Horace Greeley’s pitching early and often, cruising to a 13-2 win on Friday.
Senior Evan O’Connor was solid on the hill, tossing six innings while only allowing two earned runs. Both of Greeley’s runs came off the bat of senior Andres Larramendi (3 for 3), who blasted two solo home runs.
“Evan was outstanding,” Curtis said. “He got ahead often with his first pitch fastballs. He was in and out, mixing things up. I was pleased with the way everybody bounced back (from the loss to Panas) and Evan kind of set the tone. In spite of the fact Evan gave up the home run to Larramendi in the first, he just stuck with it.”
O’Connor’s teammates were impressed with his performance.
“We were expecting him to be our No. 2 or 3 starter,” senior outfielder Brian Gleason said. “I think he solidified himself as a No. 2 today. He was throwing strikes and getting them to put it in play.”
After Greeley took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, it was all Indians after that. Gleason and O’Connor each had an RBI double in the bottom of the first. Jimmy O’Reilly’s RBI ground out gave the Indians a 3-1 lead after one inning.
“Yesterday, I think we were trying to do too much and hit the ball out,” Gleason said. “Our coaches told us to shorten up and go the other way, and we did a great job of that today.”
John Jay-CR (1-1) added four more runs in the bottom of the second. Junior third baseman Tyler Keech blasted a two-run home run, while O’Connor and Gleason each added RBI singles. The Indians tacked on three runs in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 10-2. Gleason and Keech each had an RBI double, while Jason Valvano added an RBI single.
Gleason had an RBI triple in the top of the fifth. He finished 4 for 4 with four RBI and four runs scored.
“Gleason was just outstanding,” Curtis said. “He was crushing the ball to all fields. He was our go to guy last year and is very dependable. He picked up right where he left off last year.”
O’Connor went 2 for 3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Keech ended up 2 for 3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Rob Malara went 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Kyle Ogren added an RBI single.
Greeley (0-1), a young squad with 14 first-year varsity players, hopes to bounce back from the loss.
“We weren’t throwing the ball all over the place, there were a couple of miscues and mistakes out in the outfield,” Greeley coach Anthony Marino said. “John Jay did an excellent job hitting the ball; they hit the ball all over the place. [We need] to throw more strikes and get in pitchers counts instead of hitters counts. Little things like that, but that will come with time.”
John Jay-CR is heading down to Florida over spring break. They’ll take on defending Section 1 Class AA champion Roy C. Ketcham on Wednesday, April 4.
The Indians drop down from Class AA to Class A this season.
“I think we’d be fine in both AA or A,” Gleason said. “We can play in both leagues. But the big thing is to show up at our first sectional game. My sophomore year we lost in extras to Carmel and we shouldn’t have lost. Then last year we lost in extras to New Ro’, which was a heartbreaker. We were up 8-3 (late in the game). The big thing is to get a good seed and finish it.”
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD