Cardinals come from behind to oust St. Joe; Spalding scores 20 over first two innings to doom Curley

Owen Liberto (left) and Lamar King each homered in Calvert Hall’s 6-4 win over Mount St. Joseph Tuesday, keeping the Cardinals alive in the MIAA A Conference baseball postseason. They will play at Spalding in a win or go home match Thursday afternoon.

by Joe DiBlasi

Calvert Hall College stayed alive in the MIAA A Conference double elimination baseball tournament, Tuesday in Irvington, with a 6-4 road win over Mount St. Joseph in an elimination bracket game which ended the season for the Gaels.

The Cardinals advance to another elimination game, Thursday at top-seeded Archbishop Spalding, which thumped Archbishop Curley, 20-1, in Tuesday’s other elimination contest.

The defending A Conference champion Cardinals overcame a 3-0 first inning deficit when the Gaels’ Joey Willis whacked a two run double, and Tanner Vicendese stroked an RBI single.

St. Joe starter, Jackson Bauer retired the first 11 Cardinal hitters he faced, before Alex Kahn singled to center with two down in the fourth. Calvert Hall’s clean-up hitter Lamar King then walloped a 2-1 Bauer fastball over the left-center field fence, 370-feet from home plate, to cut the Saint Joe lead to 3-2.

“I was looking for a fast-ball, and I got it.,” said King. “We found our energy level and came together as a team to pull this one out.”

The fourth-seeded Cardinals tied the game in the top of the sixth when Kahn’s RBI single plated Ray Infussi. Infussi started the inning off against St. Joe reliever Ethan Grieb with a single to right, and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Butler.

Calvert Hall shortstop Owen Liberto broke the 3-3 tie with a solo homer to left off of Grieb to start the seventh, and they added two insurance runs, keyed by doubles by Andrew Wells and Jack Kerr, that helped secure the win.

Liberto said he hit an inside fastball. “I knew it was coming, and I stepped off the plate a little, to step into it.”

Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl brought Steven Mufareh to the mound in the fourth and the righty threw 3.1 strong innings to keep the Mount at bay. Mufateh fanned six, and he earned the win, holding the Gaels to one run, which was charged to him in seventh, when coach Phil Kraska’s third-seeded Gaels almost staged a comeback of their own.

Mufareh gave way to Ryan Seifert, who got the save. The Gaels were down 6-4 with the bases loaded before Siefert got the last out.

Mufareh said, “I trusted my defense. I was spotting my fastball, and my curveball and change-up were working.”

Joey Willis had a double and two singles on the day for the Gaels, and Mike Sweeney, Vicendese and Josh Lantz all had two hits in an eleven hit attack.

Kahn had two key singles for the Cards.

Eckerl said, “Hats off to Saint Joe, they had a great season. Our players stayed focus today and they didn’t quit. We’re looking forward to our next game in the tournament, hoping to keep our winning streak alive.”

Kraska praised the Hall, in turn. “They have some tough hitters, and they battled back. We battled back as well. I am very proud of our guys. We have a very tough team and we fought hard and worked hard all year. We stayed alive in this one right until the very end.”

Unfortunately for Curley, it could not say the same thing in its match with Spalding.

The Cavaliers, who were shutout in their loss to John Carroll School on Monday, showed up with a vengeance on Tuesday, scoring nine runs in the bottom of the first and then scoring 11 in the second to end the Friars’ season with a thud.

Spalding had just eight hits in the contest, but they collected 13 walks including three by leadoff hitter Eddie Sargent, who scored four times.

The Cavaliers and Cardinals are each two wins away from the finals. The winner of their game will play the loser of Thursday’s winner’s bracket final between Gilman School and John Carroll, on Friday.

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