Fresh off a three-game sweep of Herricks last week that saw its offense pound out 25 runs, Kennedy upped its winning streak on the baseball diamond to four last Monday with an 8-4 victory at Long Beach.
Senior Matthew Murphy and junior Jason Ganca drove in three runs apiece to back the pitching of sophomore Joe Corrao, who allowed one earned run over 5 1/3 innings on the way to his second victory in seven days. Senior Mike McCormick recorded the last three outs to pick up his fifth save as the Cougars improved to 6-3 against Conference AA-IV rivals. Long Beach slipped to 1-8.
“We’ve been able to overcome some key injuries so far,” Kennedy coach Eric Passman said. “We’ve got some young guys growing up quickly. One of them pitched today and gave us a second straight strong start.”
Corrao, who made his first varsity start April 8 and beat Herricks, 11-4, allowed only three hits in his second start and struck out six Marines before leaving with one out in the bottom of the fifth. The first two Long Beach runs came in the third and were aided by an error.
Kennedy’s offense quickly picked up the defense and scored five times in the fourth. Senior Zach Raskin, who batted twice in the inning, got the rally started with a single. After two walks loaded the bases, Murphy’s double plated Raskin and junior John Cuttitta to make it 2-2. Junior John Austin Emory followed with a run-scoring groundout that scored freshman catcher Reed Oreste and put the Cougars ahead for good. Ganca’s sac fly added to the lead, and an error allowed McCormick to score for a 5-2 cushion.
In the fifth, Ganca capped a three-run outburst with a triple that brought home Murphy and Emory. Long Beach scratched across a run in the sixth, and scored another in the seventh and had the tying run at the plate with one out before McCormick got a strikeout and groundout to end it.
“We’ve got a young team, so some growing pains are to be expected, but I’m really satisfied with how we’re playing,” Passman said. “The kids believe in themselves.”
With senior pitchers Justin Penchuck and Jake Schwartz both sidelined with injuries considered day-to-day, Passman said Corrao and fellow sophomore Justin Stybel have stepped up to fill voids in the rotation. Stybel had an impressive first outing against Port Washington on April 1, going 6 1/3 innings in a 6-3 victory. He also beat Herricks, 8-6, on April 9 with run support from sophomore John Hulkower (3-for-3, three RBI) and McCormick (3-for-4, three RBI.)