MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Down 1-0 entering the bottom of the fourth inning, Mahopac was starving for a key hit to salvage its senior night.
Pat McGee, a senior captain, rocked a lead-off triple into the left center field gap and later scored on a sacrifice fly from senior catcher Chris Montuoro to knot the defensive contest.
“I had been envisioning that to help the team get the win,” McGee said. “Before I came up, coach (Shaun) McGee said to me, ‘Find any way you can to get on base.’ It’s an awesome feeling to help the team get the win on senior night—probably the biggest day of the year.”
Mahopac finished the job the next inning, as senior outfielder Ryan Merlini set the table by lining a single to right. Senior first baseman Matteo Avallone zipped the go-ahead RBI base-hit to right field.
“This was definitely the biggest situation of my season,” Avallone said. “I had all the confidence in the world going up there. I knew that I was going to make it happen. [The pitch] jammed me up a little bit, but I got enough of it to put it in between the first and second baseman.”
It was all smooth-sailing for starting pitcher Brian Murray after surrendering a run in the second inning to pave the Indians’ emotional 2-1 triumph over Arlington on senior night on Friday, May 12.
“After that inning, I just tried to pump first-pitch strikes,” Murray said. “I had a bunch of guys with two strikes, they made weak-contact and let my fielders do the job.”
The senior Murray fired in heat early and often to stun the Admirals over a complete game for two strikeouts, one earned run, five hits and just one walk.
It was shockingly his first time ever pitching on Mahopac’s home field in his entire two-year varsity career as he has been a road warrior for the Indians.
“It was almost foreign to me,” Murray said. “But with all of the people here, I wanted to bring home a win.”
Fellow senior Matt Montera slashed a double down the left-field line during the second inning, but it was a sharp performance in the field that keyed the victory.
McGee made a costly error during the second inning when Arlington scored, but the shortstop churned out play-after-play throughout the latter frames.
Despite committing five errors in Wednesday’s 5-3 road win versus the Admirals, Mahopac convincingly snapped its five-game losing-skid as the offense showed signs of life.
“We had a little talk, went up to Arlington and played with a little desperation,” Mahopac coach Chris Miller said. “I knew the team would come in emotional and fired up again for senior night and that’s exactly what they did. When it was a close game, I knew we would be OK.”
The hot-swinging Merlini led the Indians with three hits and two RBI while center fielder Steven Daly drove two runs home.
“Ever since [Merlini] got his chance, he’s been awesome from day one,” Miller said. “I’m very happy for him because he is a senior and has succeeded with his chance.”
Third baseman Anthony Simeone knocked in a run too, and senior John Ravoli tossed a solid complete game effort.
Ravoli only gave up one earned-run over just four hits along with a strikeout and zero walks.
“I had all my pitches working that day,” Ravoli said. “I threw a lot of first pitch curveballs, sliders and changeups. We feel confident going into the postseason, since we have home field and we don’t lose here.”
In Mahopac’s 6-1 loss to Scarsdale on May 8, junior pitcher Tyler Rimaldi gave up five runs and fanned three batters over three innings in his first varsity start. Reliever Billy Moeller mopped up three frames, striking out two hitters while giving up a run.
Senior closer Mark Trio has been instrumental in finishing off numerous close games for the Indians all season.
“It’s a cool experience,” Trio said of senior day. “This year, it’s finally your day. It’s great to see all the parents too, who do so much for us.”
The Indians (13-7) are guaranteed a home playoff game but the opponent and date of the contest is yet to be determined at press time.
“We’re coming into the postseason strong,” McGee said. “We hung in there with John Jay (East Fishkill), we beat White Plains, so we’ve got all the confidence that we need to go out there and make a statement.”