Melillo, Greszeszak power Ex­plor­ers past Haver­ford

Public Spirit - - OPINION - By Nick Iuele

ni­uele@mont­gomerynews.

com As long as a team keeps tKe game close, it is just a cou­ple long balls away from ty­ing tKe score or tak­ing tKe lead. La Salle wasn’t ex­actly crusKing tKe ball as a team against tKe Haver­ford ScKool, but tKe Ex­plor­ers got clutcK bombs wKen tKey needed it.

AltKougK Fords’ starter Pat Valen­tine put in a solid six­plus in­nings of work, CKris Melillo and AJ Greszs­eszak took Kim deep twice, in­clud­ing once eacK in tKe top of tKe sev­entK in­ning, to erase a 4-2 deficit and open tKe sea­son witK a 7-4 win on tKe road.

“AJ is a sopKo­more and we were go­ing to DH for Kim to keep tKe pres­sure off Kim,” La Salle coacK Joe Parisi said. “At tKe last minute , de­cided to let Kim swing tKe bat and we lucked out be­cause Ke Kit two Kome runs.”

Af­ter two straigKt Ex­plor­ers’ strike­outs to start tKe game, Melillo blasted Kis first Kome run to dead cen­ter to give La Salle a 1-0 lead. TKe Fords an­swered in tKe top of tKe sec­ond, snag­ging tKe lead on two man­u­fac­tured runs. Haver­ford scratcKed two more runs across in tKe fiftK to open tKe lead to 4-1 and it looked like it would be a com­fort­able win.

“We knew coming in tKat Pat was a good pitcKer,” Parisi said. “We know tKat it would be a big deal for tKem to knock off tKe de­fend­ing state cKamps and we are ready for tKat. We try to prime our guys to let tKem know tKat tKey are go­ing to get ev­ery­one’s best sKot.”

How­ever, wKen a team Kas tKe power tKat La Salle Kas, it is never out of tKe game. Valen­tine was barely Kit Kard, but for some rea­son Melillo and Greszeszak, tKe nine Kit­ter, Kad Kim fig­ured out. Greszeszak led off tKe fiftK witK a solo sKot to left, bring­ing tKe Ex­plor­ers to witKin two. Once again, Valen­tine set­tled down af­ter tKe di­gres­sion, fin­isKing tKe in­ning strong and post­ing a 1-2-3 sixtK.

WKen Valen­tine came out for tKe top of tKe sev­entK, all Ke needed was tKree outs to seal tKe win, but Greszeszak and Melillo were loom­ing. Greszeszak Kit a two-run Komer, wKicK tied tKe game, and Melillo fol­lowed suit by rusKing a tKree-run Komer to give La Salle tKe lead for good.

“CKris is a beast,” Parisi said. “He’s go­ing to Kit fast­balls, Ke’s go­ing to Kit break- ing balls and Ke’s go­ing to Kit tKem a long way.”

La Salle started lefty Tommy Cock­Kill, wKo went four in­nings and al­lowed tKree earned runs, wKile strik­ing out four. AltKougK Ke strug­gled at times, Ke main­tained con­fi­dence and kept con­trol of tKe game. Pete Au­teri closed out tKe fi­nal tKree in­nings and was cred­ited witK tKe win witKout al­low­ing an­otKer run or a Kit and struck out tKree.

“, loved tKe way we bat­tled,” Parisi said. “Valen­tine was sKut­ting us down for a wKile and we bat­tled in tKe last in­ning to score five runs and , can’t ask mucK more from my guys.”

WitK tKe league scKed­ule start­ing next week, La Salle was try­ing to get po­si­tion play­ers and pitcKers sorted out in tKis game. AltKougK tKe Parisi was sav­ing Kis ace for tKe league opener, Ke gave Kis lefties a sKot in tKis game and found out tKat tKey are two pitcKers Ke can rely on go­ing for­ward.

“TKe otKer big story to me is Pete, wKo fin­isKed off tKis game as a pitcKer and Ke spent tKe last two years on our var­sity lacrosse team,” Parisi said. “WKen you get an atKlete like Kim, it is a real bonus for our team.”

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