SOMERS, N.Y.— With the graduation of stud pitcher Dan Capra and a few other key players, North Salem has had to find new pieces to complete the puzzle for the 2017 season.
The pieces seem to be fitting in just fine as Tigers are off to an unbeaten 4-0 start.
North Salem defeated host Somers 8-7 in five innings on April 12. The umpires ended the game due to poor field conditions after it rained for the duration of the contest.
Somers cut the deficit to 6-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a Marc Maestri two-run single.
North Salem’s Adam Concadoro had a sacrifice fly to drive in Anthony D’Innocenzo in the next inning. Jesse Fleming then beat out an infield single to extend the lead to 8-5.
The Tuskers rallied back again, cutting it to 8-7 in the bottom of the fifth but Rian Balbino was able to wriggle out of the jam for the save.
“We had to have each other’s backs,” Concadoro said. “Our intensity was high, but at the end of the game they started coming back. They were able to lace some balls into the gaps but our defense was able to control it and we pulled it out. Rian was able to throw strikes. They hit a couple but he got (his pitches) down to the point where they would only hit ground balls. The last ground ball was to me and I was able to make the play.”
North Salem coach Rob Gilchrist said that Balbino, a sophomore who normally plays center field, is starting to gain the coaches’ and his teammates’ trust out on the hill.
“He’s coming in and throwing strikes,” Gilchrist said. “He’s a one- or two-inning relief guy, but he gets the job done. We’re able to execute outs when he’s pitching. It paid off again today.”
Concadoro finished 2 for 2 with two RBI and two runs scored for North Salem. Connor Mahoney went 3 for 3 with three runs scored. Fleming and J.B. Healy had two RBI apiece for a Tiger team which led 4-0 after two innings.
“We went out early with the lead and held the lead all the way through the game,” Gilchrist said. “(Somers) strung some hits together and kept fighting back.”
Will Baumler tossed 3.1 innings to earn the win a few days after his grandfather had passed away.
“He was pitching for him today,” Gilchrist said.
The Tigers know that Mahoney is their ace, but they also have confidence in the rest of their hurlers.
“The rest of our pitching staff is just fine,” Concadoro said. “They all have their heads on straight and throw strikes.”
In an 8-2 win over host Valhalla on April 15, Healy stuck out six over 5.2 innings to pick up the win. Nate Carminucci drove in four runs and blasted a homer.
Mahoney tossed a gem in a 3-0 eight-inning win over Westlake on April 15. He struck out 15 and allowed just one hit over seven innings to pick up the win. Fleming had a two-run single in the eighth inning. Balbino earned the save.
The Tigers host Putnam Valley at 4:30 p.m. on April 21 and travel to John Jay-Cross River at 11 a.m. the next day.
“We’re taking one game at a time,” Concadoro said. “We can’t really look back on states. We’re just trying to make our own path this year.”