ARMONK – In the beginning and at the end, Frank Vesuvio faced plenty of rocky moments. Of course, in the middle, he was flawless — even perfect.
It seemed like no matter what Byram Hills needed Thursday, Vesuvio managed to provide it. He pitched unafraid throughout a tense 2-1 defeat over visiting Harrison that left the ace right-hander as calm and confident as ever.
“I breeze through those type of situations,” he said. “I’ve been in them a lot, pressure situations, last year and at the beginning of this year. I just had to find a way to do it.”
At one point he retired 14 straight batters from the end of the first to the start of the sixth, but Vesuvio also had to strand seven, including five in scoring position. He left the bases loaded in the first and then somehow untangled a second-and-third, no-out jam after allowing a run to start the sixth.
Even in the end, Vesuvio was forced to bear down. He recorded the final two outs with two men on, including the tying run. He froze the final batter with a nasty slider for strikeout No. 8.
“The last four years I’ve been in a lot of situations like that,” he said. “You jut have to pitch like nobody is on base and get the quick outs.”
Vesuvio narrowly won a duel of aces against Harrison senior Dean McCarthy. The lefty scattered four hits and three walks in six innings of work.
Byram earned its 2-0 lead with runs in the first and fourth that were scored on outs. The only serious threat against McCarthy came when he slipped out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the fifth. He forced Vesuvio to fly out on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning and keep his team within reach against one of Section 1’s best.
“Deano really hung in there the entire game,” Harrison coach Marco DiRuocco said. “He pitched a complete-game effort. He really worked extremely hard and battled and got himself out of some tough situations throughout the game.”
Because their game was washed out Tuesday, the teams play again Friday afternoon at Harrison.
Player of the game: Frank Vesuvio, Byram Hills. The West Virginia-bound senior allowed just six hits and a walk while striking out eight in a complete-game effort. He drove in Daniel DiSano with a sac fly in the first and then scored on a groundout by Kevin Wietsma in the fourth. Vesuvio had singled to right to lead off the inning and then stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch.
Turning point: Despite stranding the bases loaded in the first, Harrison squandered its best chance in the sixth. The Huskies opened the inning with a McCarthy double to end Vesuvio’s perfect streak. Brandon DiNota followed with a pinch-hit RBI single. When Vesuvio hit Christos Siapanides, Harrison had runners at first and second. They moved to second and third with no outs when Vesuvio was wild on a pick-off throw to first, but what seemed like a promising inning went no further. Vesuvio retired the Nos. 4-6 batters in Harrison’s lineup without allowing the tying run.
Quotable: “He’s just the ultimate competitor. He doesn’t let anything faze him,” Byram Hills coach Scott Saunders said of Vesuvio. “Once he got into the rhythm of the game and got loosened up and starting feeling it, he’s just tough. He’s a bulldog.”