After not giving up a hit for five innings, the Archbishop Molloy junior was in a tight spot – a run in, the tying run on second and the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
“I was cruising and then I don’t know,” Boyle said. “The nerves start coming in, I guess.”
Legendary coach Jack Curran came to the mound to calm him down. It was just Boyle’s first career league start after being sidelined all of last year recovering from knee surgery to repair bone chips.
Curran left, Boyle stepped off the mound, took a deep breath and induced a pop fly to right field by Gabe Gonzales. It got caught up in the wind, but Donovan Armas was able to squeeze it, sealing a 3-1 win for Molloy in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens ‘AA’ baseball Monday at Stanner Field.
“Thank God for Donovan in right field,” Boyle said, breathing a sigh of relief.
Boyle allowed just one run on five hits and struck out three in the complete-game effort. He had made relief appearances in non-league games against All Hallows and McCarthur, but this was the real deal.
“Sometimes kids have trouble closing,” Curran said. “He hasn’t pitched much.”
He also didn’t get much run support. Armas drove in Frank Peperone with a single in the first inning and John Sideris plated Daniel Gaitan, pinch running for catcher Mike Rogers, in the fifth against St. Francis Prep ace Taso Stathopoulous. Mike O’Dwyer crushed a booming, 300-foot double to the fence in left center that scored Peperone. Luckily for Molloy (2-1), that was all the runs Boyle would need.
The Stanners, coming off a disappointing 4-0 loss to Christ the King, have been playing without Evansille-bound third baseman/pitcher Jonathan Ramon, who has a pinched nerve in his back. Curran expects him to return in a week or two.
“We need to hit a lot more,” Peperone said. “Our pitching is good. … Me and [Ramon] back-to-back, it’s usually solid.”
St. Francis Prep (2-2) had its own issues at the plate. The Terriers got three hits in the first two innings against Boyle and then nothing until the seventh when Stathopoulous, who went the distance and struck out eight, slapped a single. Later in the inning, Steve Pelan sliced an RBI double down the left-field line and John Mendez walked to load the bases with two outs.
“We had more action in the last inning that we had all game,” SFP coach Bro. Robert Kent said. … “It was like a silent movie. Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in. If you can’t get ’em on, you can’t get ’em in.”
Gonzales wasn’t able to drive in the tying run from second against Boyle and Molloy walked away with a big win in a rivalry game. It was especially important for the pitcher, who is behind a year in his development, but worked hard starting last July after his rehab to get back to his previous form.
“I’m very happy with what I did,” Boyle said. “For my first league start, I’m ecstatic.”
Greg Boyle, St. Francis Prep, St. Francis Prep, Jack Curran, Frank Peperone, Donovan Armas, Taso Stathopoulous, Gabe Gonzales, Mike OвЂ™Dwyer