Iona Prep is playing for the CHSAA title after beating Kennedy
NEW YORK — When Peter Fasciglione asked to cast more before this season, some roles were being considered for him. Shutting down arguably the best team in the league in a playoff game might not have been one of them.
However, at this point, Notre Dame’s commit has earned his team’s trust. He rewarded their faith on Tuesday by throwing a three-hit shutout as Iona Prep handed Kennedy Catholic a 5-0 loss in the CHSAA playoffs at St. John’s University.
“I’m glad the coach trusts me for this big game. When I’m on the mound I just try to throw shots,” said Fasciglione, a right-hander who is usually the Gaels’ starting shortstop. . “That’s all that was on my mind the whole time – just throwing strikes.”
Fasciglione did more than enough, shuffling his pitches through seven nearly flawless innings. He and Luke Nascimento were also responsible for back-to-back bunts that fueled a five-point low of fourth that provided all the points for the game.
Fasciglione hit a sacrificial bunt when Kennedy pitched wide of first and Zach Levinson scored the game’s first run. Nascimento followed by hitting in a run on a well-placed bunt in the second.
They both came home a batter later when second Tim Denet sent a two-strike pitch into the spread for a three-run double.
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“We said it yesterday in training: if we’re not going to do it with the long ball, at some point we have to shake things up,” said Iona Prep coach Ryan Mahoney . “Luke’s pushing bunt was great, then Timmy with the big shot – that was about all we could have asked for offensively.
The Gaels had looked powerless in the first three innings against Kennedy starter Louis Marinaro, one of three St. John’s players playing on their future turf. Even the round four rally started innocently enough. Levinson walked, then Ellis Windheim fired a single left single.
Windheim’s blow sent a jolt of energy through Iona Prep’s dugout. He had replaced first baseman Jimmy Keenan – another St. John’s signee and one of the league’s most feared hitters – after Keenan suffered a hamstring injury stretching for an early pitch. and had to be helped off the field.
While Windheim’s single set the stage and the bunts set the wheels in motion for the big inning, it was Denet who gave the Gaels some serious cushion.
“A lot of us were like, do it for Jim. Do it for Jim,” Denet said. “He would give anything to go out there and win, so we had to go out there and win for him.”
What this means
Iona Prep will contest their first City Championship since 2016, but the Gaels will need two more wins to get there. After losing to Monsignor Farrell 6-2 last Friday, they drop out of the tournament losers group and now have to beat Farrell twice in the championship round.
The teams meet first at 7 p.m. Wednesday, then at 7 p.m. Friday if Iona Prep can force an extra game. Both games will be back in St. John’s.
“We are really confident,” Fasciglione said. “The last time we played Farrell I think it was a random game. I think we are the better team and it will show.”
Keenan, who is 5-1 with a 1.75 ERA this season, would likely start Wednesday if he was healthy, but Mahoney said right-hander Marcel Kulik will pitch instead.
Peter Fasciglione, Iona Prep. The right-hander needed less than 90 shots to complete his shutout in three hits. He walked just two, struck out seven and only needed four runners the entire game.
By the numbers
Iona Preparation – Iona improved to 20-4 in championship games, including two straight wins over Kennedy. … Ryan Bailey went 2 for 3 with a run scored and Levinson went 1 for 2 with a walk and a run scored. Levinson had yet to make the playoffs due to injury.
kennedy – The Gaels have won four consecutive games in the losing group to be within a championship round victory. They finished the season 22-3 in CHSAA play. … Michael Kocovic got Fasciglione’s first hit after three perfect innings. DJ Gray and Phil Mascia also added hits. Masica’s was a two-out triple in the seventh. … Marinaro allowed four earned runs and struck out seven in four innings.
“He came in as a young kid and he threw, but he had elbow issues and we were hesitant to throw him,” Mahoney said of Fasciglione. “Coming into this year, he basically said he would like to pitch. But it was going to be more situational – a closer, a setup guy. He just brought a bulldog mentality. He mixes up his pitches. He wants do exactly what he did today.”