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Archbishop Molloy hurler Donovan Armas is quite simply a big game pitcher who is at his best in clutch situations and St. Francis Prep learned that the hard way.
“They are a good team for sure,” Armas said. “The only thing I wanted to do today was to come out here and play and beat them.”
The Villanova-bound Armas got what he wanted, but he had to work for it. Up two runs heading into the top of the seventh inning, Armas allowed a single to open the frame but a passed ball, error and a balk pulled St. Francis Prep to within a run. He bore down with two outs and got Matt Walsh to harmlessly fly out to center, as host Molloy handed St. Francis Prep its first league loss of the season in CHSAA Class AA baseball Friday.
“It was tough,” Armas said of losing his shutout on a balk. “But honestly, my stats don’t matter. Getting the win is the only thing that matters to me.”
From the first inning it was apparent that Armas would be tough to even hit, never mind score off of. He struck out four in the first three frames and didn’t give up his first hit until the fourth. The lanky right hander ended up going the distance, surrendering just one run and three hits while striking out eight and walking just one.
“It’s the first run he’s given up in 16 innings this year. He’s been amazing,” Molloy Coach Brad Lyons said. “But this league is good and they’re a great team. It’s always nice to beat a great team like them.”
St. Francis Prep pitcher Taso Stathpoutos threw a gem of his own against a solid Molloy team, allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out seven batters. He got into trouble early, though, as second inning walks to John Young and Chris Piteo followed by a soft run scoring single by Carlos Balmaceda gave Molloy (5-1) a quick 1-0 lead.
In the fifth, a looping line drive to right field by Nicholas Morici allowed Liam Slattery to trot home for the eventual winning run against the Terriers (6-1).
“We knew runs would be at a premium today with two great starters going,” Lyons said. “But we played well as a team and got the win. That’s our theme, to play as a unit.”
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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