KDJ: Breaking down Class AA baseball
Follow the entire Section 1 baseball tournament on Twitter: @MSGVarsityKDJ
The Section 1 baseball tournament brackets are out. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule of games.
MSG Varsity baseball expert Kevin Devaney Jr. breaks down the entire bracket and makes his playoff predictions here:
Favorite: John Jay-East Fishkill. This is the most talented team in the conference. But being the second seed certainly made the Patriots’ run to a title far tougher. Facing either Suffern or Mahopac in the quarterfinals is no bargain. But this team is built for a long run and these veteran players — many of which were crushed by last year’s upset loss in the quarters to Ossining — love the challenge ahead.
Top contender: Ketcham. The defending Class AA champs will have the best player on the field no matter who play in Seth Lamando. Jordan Bishop and Matt Todd have steadily improved. But the question will be if they have enough pitching to win two tough matchups in three days.
Sleeper: Suffern. No. 7 seeds don’t get much better than this, although Suffern has a rough road. Hosting Mahopac in the first round and then likely playing at John Jay-Ef in the quarters is as tough a road imaginable. But this team has been superb in the second half and veterans like Dominick Kulbaba and Jesse Galina believe they can beat anyone.
Super Sleeper: Clarkstown South. The 16th seeded Vikings have a decision to make on whether to pitch junior Anthony Morris in the outbracket game with Greeley. If they can win and save him for Mamaroneck, there’s no reason to think South couldn’t shock everyone and knock off the No. 1 seed.
Marquee first round game: No. 9 Arlington at No. 8 North Rockland. Before the brackets were released, I was thinking of picking these teams in a “sleeper championship” matchup. Instead, they’ll go at it in the first round. Joe Anselmi will likely take the hill for the Red Raiders, which make them a slight favorite in a terrific matchup.
First round upset: No. 12 Yorktown over No. 5 New Rochelle. The Huskers have flown under the radar all season against a rigorous schedule. New Ro hasn’t been quite as tested. While I’m not picking it, there’s a definite chance for an upset here.
Best road to the semifinals: Fox Lane. The Foxes host either Clarkstown North or Gorton in the first round and then get either New Rochelle or Yorktown. Considering the alternatives, they’d happily sign up for that.
Don’t be shocked if: Ossining puts a scare into Carmel. The Pride will go with senior ace Rashawn Armstrong in the first round, who gives them a chance to beat anyone. Carmel has been great in the second half. But Ossining beat John Jay in the first round last year. History could repeat itself.
Three pitchers you don’t want to face
Seth Lamando, Ketcham: No secret here. Lamando is 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings. Doesn’t get much better than that at the Class AA level and against the competition he’s faced.
Dominick Kulbaba, Suffern: The kid is an absolute gamer. He throws as hard as any pitcher in the section and now has an offense that’s able to support him. Suffern will be a tough out with Kulbaba on the mound.
Joe Anselmi, North Rockland: The junior right-hander has repeatedly risen to the challenge despite being thrown against almost every top team North Rockland has faced. Anselmi will always keep the Red Raiders in the game.
Three hitters you don't want to face in a big spot
Matt Mezansky, Mamaroneck: Few players in the section can drive the ball quite like Mezansky, who's hitting .523 with 14 RBI this season.
Andres Larramendi, Horace Greeley: While Larramendi probably won't play long in this tournament, he might be one of the region's top hitters. He's been intentionally walked and pitched around all season because of his incredible power. A true star.
T.J. Hallock, Fox Lane: The senior has been incredible as driving in runs, especially of late. He hit three homers in consecutive at-bats against Greeley last week and has 14 RBI in his last 10 games.
Mamaroneck over Clarkstown South
North Rockland over Arlington
New Rochelle over Yorktown
Fox Lane over Clarkstown North
Ketcham over White Plains
Carmel over Ossining
Suffern over Mahopac
John Jay-EF over Scarsdale
North Rockland over Mamaroneck
Fox Lane over New Rochelle
Ketcham over Carmel
John Jay-EF over Suffern
Fox Lane over North Rockland
John Jay-EF over Ketcham
John Jay-EF over Fox Lane
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at kdevaney@cablevision. Tweet him your championship predictions: @MSGVarsityKDJ and get them on Wednesday's edition of "On the Beat with KDJ