NEW YORK – Despite winning the CHSAA Bronx/Westchester “AA” Division, Iona Prep was not rewarded in the seeding process.
A loss to McClancy in the seeding round dropped the Gaels to the No. 5 seed, while Kennedy — a team that they beat 9-0 during the regular season — ended up at No. 1. But rather than get bitter, Iona Prep went to work.
“We had a tough loss in one of the seeding games, but numbers don’t really mean anything to us,” senior Joe LaSorsa said. “We’re just going to go out there and play as hard as we can every day.”
LaSorsa opened the playoffs by throwing a no-hitter against Xaverian on Wednesday, and Iona Prep followed up by trouncing Kennedy with a 13-0 win on Monday at Fordham University.
Next up, Iona Prep will play defending champion Monsignor Farrell at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at St. John’s University, where a win would send the Gaels to the CHSAA championship series.
“We know who we are, we know what pieces we have and we know what we can do on any given night,” third baseman Michael Gorman said. “We proved it tonight and we just have to keep getting the job done.”
Iona Prep (18-6-1) jumped on Kennedy starter Max Peterson in the first inning. Anthony Piccolino scored on a wild pitch and then LaSorsa blasted a two-run triple into the right-center field gap. Gorman followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0 before Kennedy even got an at-bat.
“I just like to do my job when it’s presented,” said Gorman, who had three RBI singles in the game. “From that point on, we set the tone for who was going to win today.”
In the bottom half of the first, LaSorsa made another tone-setting play by throwing out a runner at home with a rocket from left field.
“It lights a fire under my behind,” LaSorsa said of making an accurate throw from the outfield. “As soon as I get that ball, I’m corking that as hard as I can. I’m going to try and give my best throw to my catcher (Chris Dutra), who made a great play on that.”
Piccolino shut it down from there, tossing five scoreless innings for the win. He threw just 63 pitches, which creates the possibility for Iona Prep coach Ryan Mahoney to put the junior left-hander back on the mound later this week.
With Piccolino, LaSorsa and Marty Durkin, Iona Prep has arguably the deepest pitching staff in the CHSAA. And with the bats having busted out in recent weeks, the Gaels are within striking distance of their first championship since 2012.
“The team is very hot,” LaSorsa said. “If I was another team, I would not want to play Iona Prep right now. The bats are going, the pitching staff is looking good and I think we have a pretty good chance.”
Kennedy (18-7) will play Molloy at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at St. John’s. The losing team will be bounced from the double-elimination tournament.