YORKTOWN, N.Y.— No. 12-seeded Lakeland’s baseball squad had to travel for its opening round Section 1 Class A playoff game against a tough fifth-seeded Harrison squad on May 21.
Luckily for the Hornets, they had one of the best big-game pitchers in the section, sophomore Joe Vetrano, on the mound.
Vetrano came up clutch for the Hornets, as he threw a complete game, allowing just two earned runs while striking out eight in a 7-2 win against the Huskies.
“It felt amazing winning the game on the road,” Vetrano said. “We went in with confidence and thinking we could win this game. Leo started us off early with a 2-0 lead and we were able to add on after that and keep the momentum on our side.”
Vetrano was referring to Leo Cummings, who tripled to drive in Andrew Croce. Cummings, on the play where he tripled, scored himself to make it 2-0 Lakeland in the second inning.
“I was expecting an outside fastball and that’s what I got so I put a good swing on it and it beat the right fielder,” Cummings said. “I ended up scoring after a bobble on the play to third.”
As for himself, Vetrano properly prepared before the game and it showed on the mound.
“I was pumped up and I was ready mentally before the game,” Vetrano said. “I felt great in warm ups and luckily it carried over to the game.”
Jason Green contributed to the cause by going 2 for 3 with two RBI for the Hornets (11-9).
“Jay always works hard in practice and has really improved since the beginning of the year and now he is a huge bat for us,” Vetrano said. “We count on him to come up clutch.”
No. 9 Yorktown’s amazing turnaround season ended when it fell 5-2 against host No. 8 Mamaroneck on May 21 in the opening round of the Class AA tournament.
Mamaroneck got the jump on the Huskers, leading 4-0 after one but senior Alby Ciuffetelli came into the game in relief and pitched spectacularly for Yorktown to keep it in the game.
Ciuffetelli pitched 5.1 innings, struck out eight, allowed no earned runs and just three hits.
“Coming into that tough stop knowing that this can be potentially my last game ever wearing the Yorktown jersey really motivated me to pitch well,” Ciuffetelli said. “Not only for myself but for the entire team especially the nine other seniors that also will never put the jersey back on.”
Standing out hitting wise for Yorktown was Tyler Pugliese (2-3, RBI).
“Tyler is our freshman catcher who is going to be the future of our team and always has great at bats and today showed his talent,” Ciuffetelli said.
Despite the loss, it couldn’t overshadow the turnaround season the Huskers enjoyed this spring.
“We had a 1-8 start and it could’ve been really easy to just give up but after a 21-0 embarrassing loss to Fox Lane we had a long talk as a team and we knew it was time to do something about it,” Ciuffetelli said. “It shows how tough we are as a team and it was a great turnaround.”
Yorktown (10-10-1) ended its regular season with a 9-2 victory against host Port Chester on May 15, with Nick Farda and Chris Sica each recording two hits apiece, including a homer by Sica.
Husker starting pitcher Jack Christensen registered the win on the mound, striking out four, allowing just two hits, a walk and an earned run in five innings pitched.