- Last Updated: 2:28 AM, May 29, 2012
- Posted: 12:53 AM, May 29, 2012
St. Francis Prep felt All Hallows’ Andrew Delarosario went into home plate too hard, that he didn’t slide. The Gaels felt St. Francis catcher Jeremy Fernandez blocked the plate without the ball.
The two teams agreed on one thing: the play turned the game on its ear and is the reason the two foes will meet again Tuesday to decide the CHSAA Class AA baseball third-round, best-of-three series.
“It saved our season,” St. Francis senior Aaron Acosta said.
With eighth-seeded All Hallows ahead a run in the top of the seventh inning and two men aboard, Jason Reyes hit a shallow fly ball to center field. Steven Pelan gunned down Delarosario at the plate to complete the double play and end the inning.
Fernandez took the hit – he had cleat marks on his thigh as proof – but held onto the ball. Fifteen minutes later, the ninth-seeded Terriers would be celebrating a season-saving comeback and thrilling, 5-4 win at Fordham University on Memorial Day. All Hallows won the opener, 7-0, behind a complete-game one-hitter from Reyes, its ace.
“I had a feeling we were coming back after that,” St. Francis coach Bro. Robert Kent said. “The team changed attitude  degrees from defeated to let’s go get them. ... We were playing that way all year."
With one out, Bobby Perretti got the rally going, singling to left field. Gabe Gonzales followed with a walk off All Hallows southpaw Jared James, so solid in relief of wild starter Danny Flores. All Hallows coach Ed Gutierrez went to Stephen Alemais, his closer who has committed to Tulane for his ability at shortstop.
Alemais didn’t have his best control. He walked Matt Kramer to load the bases and then bounced a slider on a 1-2 pitch to Acosta, enabling Perretti to score the tying run. Two pitches later, Acosta extended the Terriers season, getting into a high fastball for a long sacrifice fly to center field.
“He was throwing pretty hard, but his speed didn’t faze me,” Acosta said. “His curveball wasn’t falling in for a strike, so I sat on his fastball and I got the job done.”
All Hallows would seem to have the advance on the mound in Game 3, with No. 2 Joe Morel slated to go on full rest while Kent isn't sure who will get the ball. Gutierrez doesn't think the fashion in which his club lost will have much of an impact.
"We have to go out there and play with confidence," he said. "We'll be fine."
Justin Teitelbaum kept St. Francis (13-7) in the game, despite allowing 10 hits, all singles. He worked out of plenty of trouble. Despite his best efforts, the Terriers season seemed to be coming to an end. They trailed by just a run going to the seventh, but the Queens school had managed just two hits in the first six innings.
St. Francis scored one run in the first when Gonzalez walkes, stole second and scored on a wild pitch. It plated two more runs in the third on a Pelan suicide squeeze and Perretti RBI single. But All Hallows scratched out single runs in the fourth and fifth to go ahead as the Terriers bats went quiet.
"We were asleep all day," Kent said.
Then the play at the plate happened. Fernandez held onto the ball. The Terriers were suddenly fired up and now have another game left to play, their third elimination game in as many days.
“We have the momentum,” Acosta said. “We’re just going to carry that into the next game. They came into this game lackadaisical and we stepped on them.”
All Hallows 7, St. Francis Prep 0: Reyes went the distance, struck out two and allowed just one hit and he also had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run for All Hallows. Alemais added two hits and scored three runs and Joe Morel followed with three RBIs. Dylan Lawrence got the start for St. Francis Prep and pitched into the sixth inning.Follow @NYPostsports