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    KDJ: Scouting the baseball semifinals

    by Kevin Devaney Jr. on
    Mon, May 28, 2012 12:57 PM

    Updated Thu, May 31, 2012 10:09 AM
    KDJ: Scouting the baseball semifinals
    Photo by Lonnie Webb

    Get live updates from the Section 1 baseball tournament on Twitter: @MSGVarsityKDJ

    SECTION 1 BASEBALL TOURNAMENT

    SEMIFINALS PREVIEW

    CLASS AA
    Matchup:
    No. 4 Fox Lane vs. No. 9 Arlington
    When/where: Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. at Fox Lane
    Probable starters: Matt Horton (Arlington) vs. Robby Seraita (Fox Lane)
    How Fox Lane got here: Defeated No. 13 Clarsktown North 9-7 in opening round and beat No. 5 New Rochelle 7-6 in quarterfinals. Both games were in late-inning comebacks.
    How Arlington got here: Defeated No. 8 North Rockland 1-0 in the opening round and beat No. 1 Mamaroneck 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Exceptional pitching in both games, although the win over Mamaroneck was stopped by a thunderstorm with the Tigers batting with a man on second and two outs in the seventh inning.
    Top hitters: Fox Lane
    T.J. Hallock, Sr., OF:
    Hallock may be the main reason this team is still playing. He’s 14 for his last 21 (.667) and leads team in average (.500), RBI (27) and homers (5).
    Richard Slenker, Jr., SS: A slick-fielder, Slenker has been solid at the plate all year, hitting .469 with three homers and 25 RBI.
    Matt Oniffrey, Jr., 1B: Power-hitting veteran is batting .412 with three homers, 21 runs and 19 RBI.
    Top hitters: Arlington
    Tyler Bruno, Jr., SS:
    Coming an strong outing on the mound in the quarters, Bruno is one of the region’s top leadoff men. When he gets on, he usually finds a way to score.
    Robbie Camastro, Sr., C: The strong-armed catcher is hitting .415 with 16 RBI and 16 runs.
    Mike Scocozza, Sr., 3B: Scocozza must carry the burden with star Joe Boland likely out with a broken finger. Scocozza is hitting .418 with 20 RBI and 24 runs.
    Scouting report: Fox Lane has one of the most explosive lineups in Section 1. Arlington pitches and plays defense as well as anyone. It makes this one of the most intriguing matchups of the semifinal rounds. If Horton takes the mound, the Foxes can expect a steady diet of off-speed pitches and pinpoint location. Fox Lane hasn’t gotten the consistent pitching it has hoped. But this group has shown great resolve in both postseason games and has enough talent back from last year’s team that reached the finals to believe they can do it again.
    Prediction: Fox Lane 6, Arlington 5. The Foxes will likely have to dip into their bullpen and play flawless defense. But look for them to have one big inning at the plate and use it as a catapult into the title game.

    Matchup: No. 2 John Jay-EF vs. No. 6 Carmel
    When/where:
    Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. at John Jay
    Probable starters: Jon Repetto (John Jay-EF) vs. Easton Obojokovitz (Carmel)
    How John Jay-EF got here: Defeated No. 15 Scarsdale 21-1 in the opening round and beat No. 7 Suffern 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
    How Carmel got here: Defeated No. 11 Ossining 4-0 in the opening round and beat Ketcham 4-2 in the quarterfinals. Ketcham, the defending champ, took a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning before the Rams rallied for three runs.
    Top hitters: John Jay-EF
    Jay Coscio, Sr., CF:
    Coscio, who’ll play at AIC, is probably the most versatile hitter in the lineup. He’s batting up near .400, has great speed and knows how to work counts.
    Ryan DiMarzo, Sr., 1B: If DiMarzo gets his pitch, he’ll make pitchers pay. He hits gap-to-gap.
    Adam Calabro, Sr., RF: The slugging veteran is a deep-fly threat every time he steps to the plate.
    Top hitters: Carmel
    Ryan Mordecai:
    Mordecai came up with the biggest hit of the season for the Rams, belting a two-run homer in the seventh in a comeback win over Ketcham in the quarterfinals.
    Sal Gadero: The team-leader in RBI (31) has four homers, including a playoff blast against Ossining in the opening round.
    Brett Viola: Viola has been a model of consistency at the plate, batting .429 with 21 runs scores.
    Scouting report: Two teams that are peaking at the right time square off for the second time in 11 days. Carmel beat Jay 3-2, scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh. The Rams have won eight straight and 15 of 16 and are the hottest team in the section. But the Patriots squad has been gearing up for a title run since last year. This veteran group should find a way.
    Prediction: John Jay-EF 6, Carmel 3. Look for Jay to be aggressive early and jump out to a quick lead. This time, they hold on in the end.


    CLASS A
    Matchup: No. 4 Beacon vs. No. 9 Byram Hills
    When/where:
    4:30 p.m. at Beacon
    Probable starters: Andrew Slosberg (Byram Hills) vs. TBAi (Beacon)
    How Beacon got here: Defeated No. 20 Lourdes 12-2 in the opening round and beat No. 5 Sleepy Hollow 5-0 in the quarterfinals.
    How Byram Hills got here: Defeated No. 24 Poughkeepsie 8-3 in the outbracket, beat No. 8 Pearl River 4-1 in the opening round and defeated No. 16 John Jay-CR 10-6 in the quarterfinals.
    Top hitters: Beacon
    Tony Romanelli, So., 1B:
    The region’s most prized underclassmen has continually come up with big hits this season. He’s a line-drive hitter with serious pop.
    Billy Sablinksi, Sr., 1B/2B/OF: A serious power-threat in the middle of the Bulldogs lineup. Superb fastball-htter.
    Pat Schetter, SS: Everything in this explosive lineup starts with Schetter at the top. He works counts, gets on base and is usually in the middle of Beacon rallies.
    Top hitters: Byram Hills
    Chris Lattarulo, DH:
    Coming off a huge performance in the quarterfinals (HR and 5 RBI), Lattarulo has a power threat who has five homers this season.
    Andrew Slosberg, Sr., P: He’s not just one of the top arms in the region. Slosberg (.348) can drive the ball to all fields and has 21 runs scored.
    Brian Hammer, OF: Hammer has gotten hot in the postseason and drove in three runs against John Jay in the quarters.
    Scouting report: If it materializes, Romanelli vs. Slosberg could be the best pitching matchup of this postseason Slosberg is a hard-thrower, which Beacon has seen a lot of this season. But Romanelli might not see a lineup as patient as Byram Hills. They work counts and extend innings. It will be a matter of timely hitting for the Bobcats and seizing opportunities. But no matter who pitches for Beacon, they don’t let many get on bases these days.
    Prediction: Beacon 3, Byram Hills 0. The pitchers live up to the hype. But Beacon manages to scratch out a couple of runs in separate innings.

    Matchup: No. 2 Harrison vs. No. 3 Kennedy
    When/where:
    Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. at Harrison
    Probable pitchers: Sky Bates (Kennedy) vs. Max Bruckner (Harrison)
    How Harrison got here: Defeated No. 19 Nanuet 5-1 in the opening round and beat No. 7 Somers 3-1 in the quarterfinals. Bruckner and Mike Forgione pitched complete games in each contest.
    How Kennedy got here: Defeated No. 14 Rye 11-2 in the opening round and beat No. 11 Tappan Zee 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
    Top hitters: Harrison
    Austin Pollack, Jr., OF:
    Leads team with a .352 average and .459 OBP
    Alex Beckett, Sr., C: Batting .342 with 12 RBI while throwing 11 base-stealers
    Polera Shang-Li, Sr., OF: Come back strong after a knee injury last season, hitting .338 with 23 runs scored and 16 stolen bases.
    Top hitters: Kennedy
    Erik Bauer, Sr., 3B:
    The standout headed to Marist is one of several power-hitting lefties in this lineup. He’s hitting well over .400.
    Jason Agresti, So., C: If there’s a Kennedy, rally, Agresti is usually in the middle of it. He’s batting up near .450 and has been the team’s most consistent run-producer of late.
    John Brabazon, So., OF: Brabazon has really come into his own in the second half of the season, coming up with clutch hits in wins over Hen Hud, Lakeland and New Rochelle. He’s fearless at the plate.
    Scouting report: The middle of the Kennedy lineup — Bauer, Jason Agresti and Joe Drepich is not the only place where the Gaels can hurt. Guys like Brabazon, Matt Bearn and leadoff man Nick Maddalena have come up with so many clutch hits in the second half of the season, making this is one of the most taxing lineups to pitch against in the section. Max Bruckner may be one of the top three pitchers in Section 1. But this Kennedy lineup is a grind. If Sky Bates, or whoever pitches for Kennedy, is on his game, the Gaels will be very tough.
    Prediction: Kennedy 3, Harrison 2. Another superb pitching matchup is decided on a late-inning run. The Gaels will have to play great defense to pull this one out.


    CLASS B
    Matchup: No. 1 Briarcliff vs. No. 5 Dobbs Ferry
    When/where:
    Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. at Briarcliff
    Probable pitchers: Danny Crowe (Dobbs Ferry) vs. Spencer Kulman (Briarcliff)
    How Briarcliff got here: Defeated No. 16 Croton-Harmon 5-0 in the opening round and beat No. 9 Putnam Valley 3-2 in the quarterfinals.
    How Dobbs Ferry got here: Defeated No. 12 Edgemont 9-1 and beat No. 4 Pleasantville 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
    Top hitters: Dobbs Ferry
    Danny Crowe, Sr., P:
    Few players in the section have had quite the impact in the postseason so far as Crowe. Hitting .412 on the year, he was dominant in the mound against Edgemont and had a clutch two-run double against Pleasantville.
    Eddie Ritch, Sr., SS: You could make a case that Ritch is the toughest out in Class B and one of the toughest in Section 1. Ritch, who’ll play at AIC, is hitting .541 with 22 runs scored and 18 RBI. Given his track record in football and basketball, he’s poised for a big game here.
    Kenyon Roberts, Jr., 3B: Roberts (.340) has emerged as one of the most important bats in the Eagles lineup. Roberts and Michael Boyle must get on base and take the load off Crowe and Ritch to pull off the upset.
    Top hitters: Briarcliff
    John Fussell, Sr., 3B:
    The postseason last year was where Fussell went from being a very good hitter into an elite one. His patience is incredible and, juding by hit .474 average and 23 RBI, he can swing the bat pretty good too.
    Spencer Kulman, Jr., P/OF: Kulman’s numbers aren’t that far off Fussell’s, posting a .443 average with 22 RBI and 15 runs scored. They’re quite a potent tandem
    Jackson Plimpton, Sr., 2B/OF: Plimpton (.441) has been solid all season, as has Paul Henshaw, Lou Carafiello and Ryan Huegel. Again, there’s no weakness in this lineup.
    Scouting report: Briarcliff, the defending champs and state runners-up, have been widely regarded as the conference’s best team all season. But now they go up against a Dobbs Ferry that’s not only playing great baseball but has a core of athletes that’s not intimidated by the Briarcliff aura. The Bears have a potent lineup with a legitimate threat 1 through 9. But the Eagles feel they have the firepower to match up. The key for Dobbs will be playing defense behind Crowe and not letting the Bears break open innings like they’re prone to do. If Dobbs can keep Briarcliff inside the short fences at its home field, it has the chance to pull an upset.
    Prediction: Briarcliff 6, Dobbs Ferry 5. The Bears have the benefit of playing tighter-than-expected games in the first two rounds, preparing them mentally for the grind of the postseason. The Briarcliff lineup is just too grueling and works pitchers too much. Look for somebody at the end of the order to get the big hit to this one.

    Matchup: No. 2 Keio vs. No. 14 Hastings
    When/where:
    Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. at Manhattanville College
    Probable pitchers: Dillon Healy (Hastings) vs. Takumi Yokoyama (Keio)
    How Keio got here: Defeated No. 15 Blind Brook 4-1 in the opening round and beat No. 10 Valhalla 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
    How Hastings got here: Defeated No. 3 Bronxville 4-2 in the opening round and beat No. 6 Irvington 15-11 in the opening round.
    Top hitters: Hastings
    Matt Adipietro, Sr., SS:
    The team’s leading hitter (.443) went 4 for 4 in the win over Irvington and has been so consistent all season. The explosion of the rest of the offense has taken the pressure off him.
    Nick Grasso, Sr., OF: The pure line-drive hitter is hitting .368 this season and has been such a good catalyst at the top of the Yellow Jackets order.
    Brian Wu, Sr., 2B: Wu and Brian Schoen have really broke out of late, coming up with clutch hits. Wu had three hits and three RBI versus Irvington.
    Top hitters: Keio
    Kento Suga, Sr., 1B/P:
    Suga leads the Unicorns in hitting (.483) and runs scored (24). He’s a nightmare for opposing pitchers when he’s on the basepaths.
    Yuya Morita, Fr., 2B: Morita is hitting .415, second only to Suga, but is 5 for his last 8.
    Masatoshi Watanabe, Sr., SS/P: Keio top run-producer is Watanabe, who’s driven in a team-high 19 runs and is batting .410 with 11 extra-base hits.
    Scouting report: Nobody expected the Yellow Jackets to be here, not after winning just six games in the regular season. But they’ve wiped the slate clean in the postseason and shown an incredible ability to hit in the clutch and drive fastballs to the gap. Yokoyama is a smart pitcher who’s not going to groove anything for Hastings. If Keio avoids the big innings, it will reach the title game.
    Prediction: Keio 3, Hastings 2. The Unicorns are so good at working counts, getting runners over and playing small ball. They won’t rally off of Healy. They’ll scratch some things together and find ways to make the plays to win.

    Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at kdevaney@cablevision.com
     

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