PEARL RIVER – An upset win over defending Class A state champion Byram Hills on Monday will live on in Pearl River lore, but it would have gone down as somewhat of a fluke if the Pirates couldn’t take care of business against league rival Nyack in their next two games.
“We always knew that we were that good of a team and that brought our confidence up, but we want more,” junior right-hander Chris Sabino said. “Coach (Mike) Oliva brought us all together and said, ‘Listen, we have a good team. We just all have to bear down and get it.’ ”
There would be no letdown for Pearl River.
The Pirates won 7-5 at Nyack on Tuesday and completed the season-sweep with a thorough 9-2 victory over the Indians at home on Thursday.
They were young last year, finishing 9-13, but they have most of their starters back and are proving that they should be considered a force in Class A this season.
“We’re feeling great,” sophomore catcher Sean Flaherty said. “We’re just playing our game, playing loose and having fun.”
Pearl River scored once in the first inning, but broke the game open with five runs in the second.
Dolan Ocasal and Matt Patrone started the inning with back-to-back bunts, forcing Nyack into a couple of defensive mistakes to put two on with no outs. Steve Kinnally followed with the biggest hit of the game, a two-run double down the right-field line. Another error and a wild pitch later in the inning resulted in a 6-1 lead.
“We make them make plays by putting the ball in play,” Flaherty said. “We have to capitalize on that. That’s how we’re going to win games.”
Player of the game: Sean Flaherty, Pearl River — The nephew of former major-league catcher and current YES Network broadcaster John Flaherty is beginning to make a name for himself. He was the only Pirate to reach base safely three times and he threw out three would-be base-stealers.
“When a guy steals on me, I take it personal,” he said. “I feel really good back there.”
Turning point: Nyack misplayed bunts from Ocasal and Patrone to start the second inning, which had a snowball effect. The Indians made three of their six errors in that inning, and Pearl River made them pay.
Stat line: Pearl River (5-1) — Sabino pitched five innings on 75 pitches (44 strikes), allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Flaherty went 2 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI, while Ocasal and Kinnally each scored two runs. Nyack (2-4) — Daniel Marcillo pitched 3 1/3 innings on 73 pitches (38 strikes), allowing seven runs (only one earned) on three hits and four walks with one strikeout. Cyrus Shirazi had a walk, a double, a run scored and an RBI.
Quotable: “I really think we’re playing well, but I don’t think we’re playing to our maximum potential,” Sabino said. “I think the bats have more and I think we can do a lot more. But we’re doing really well so far.”