Chaminade sweeps past St. Mary’s

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Pick up a tux. 

Get a haircut. 

Reserve a limo. 

The Chaminade Flyers are hoping to not include play an elimination playoff game that day. They went a long way toward guaranteeing that by sweeping a three-game series from St. Mary’s of Manhasset, winning the last two games Friday afternoon at St. Paul the Apostle Field in Brookville. 

After winning the series opener, 2-0, Chaminade swept a doubleheader Friday afternoon. The Flyers took the opener, 6-1, and won the nightcap, 10-0. 

“We live for this,” Chaminade senior catcher Rob Vani said. “For the seniors, school is over, but we come in every day and work hard, hitting, getting in the weight room. If we have to play Prom Day, we’ll play Prom Day.”

Chaminade (12-6, 10-6) moves into sole possession of third place and if the Flyers beat rival St. Anthony’s in their final two regular season games, they’re assured of at least a third place finish and the first-round bye that comes with it. 

“Really, our destiny is in our own hands,” Chaminade coach Mike Pienkos said. “If we win out we lock up third. I don’t know where everyone else stands, but all I know is if we win, it gives us a bye in the first round.”

Knowing what was at stake, the Flyers weren’t overlooking St. Mary’s, despite the Gaels 0-16 league record. 

“This was huge for us,” Vani said. “These guys give us their best baseball every year. They’re a good team, but we did what we had to do and took three from them.”

In the nightcap Friday, four pitchers combined to toss a two-hit shutout. Setting the tone was Shane McDonald, a hard-throwing senior who struck out six and walked two in three innings. 

Vanderbilt-bound junior Brendan Spagnuolo picked up the win in two innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out two with one walk. Ryan Carlino and Chris Gallic were solid in one inning apiece.

“We filled it up today, really pounded the fastball in,” Vani said. “And we were getting outs, the fielders were getting behind us. We threw a lot of strikes.”

Chaminade broke open a close game by scoring three runs in each the third and fourth. Like the stellar pitcher, the Flyers offensive explosion was a team effort. 

“This is really the first time I can say that even though we didn’t get a tremendous number of hits, we really swung the bat well,” Pienkos said. “That was very pleasing to see.”

Jack Graffagnino had an RBI double and Luke Zeccola added a run-scoring triple in the third, while Chris Stewart had a two-run single and Vani tripled to center to drive in another run in the fourth. 

“We struggled early in the year, but throughout the season we’ve come on,” Vani said. “Guys like Luke Zeccola and Robbie Hopes really contributing, hitting the ball hard every time and today it culminated.”

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