DeFalco powers Astro Falcons to romp in Cene championship
By BOB ETTINGER
Marco DeFalco was brilliant in leading the Astro Falcons over the Avalanche, 8-0, Tuesday in the Bob Cene Memorial Class B Tournament championship game.
“[The Avalanche] have been on a roll lately,” DeFalco said. “I had to be on my A game.
“I had to keep them from taking advantage of my bad pitches. I had to keep them cold and not let them get hot like they’ve been.”
The Astro Falcons (20-5) were crowned champions for the third straight year.
“It’s hard to do,” Falcons manager Andy Timko said. “There are a lot of teams out here and you never know who’s going to come in the tournament.”
DeFalco fanned 11 in a three-hit shutout.
“I was just mixing it up,” DeFalco said. “I threw a few curveballs to keep them off balance. I also knew I had my fastball to rely on if I got behind.”
It was those curveballs that had the Avalanche struggling.
“He threw more curveballs than he usually does, especially early,” Timko said. “He had them thinking about that curve.”
It was a puzzle the Avalanche struggled to solve.
“He was throwing strikes,” Avalanche manager Don Zeisler said. “We had two left-handers and all the right-handers were trying to yank everything. When you’re throwing the ball by everybody, that’s what happens.
“Marco was on and we were just flat.”
The Falcons had no such problems in the box. They scored twice in each of the first two innings and plated a run in each of the other four innings.
“We were putting the bat on the ball [when we got the pitch we were looking for],” Timko said. “We’re getting better every single day.
“We were striking out a lot a couple of weeks ago. We’re putting the ball in play a little better. Good things happen when you put the ball in play.”
Those first four runs were the result of a patient approach.
“We walked four and hit a batter in the first two innings,” Zeisler said. “We also had an error. We didn’t play well.”
The early lead allowed DeFalco the opportunity to relax a bit.
“That makes my job a lot easier,” DeFalco said. “We were all playing loose. I knew if I gave up one or two runs, the offense would come back and put up a couple more.”
DeFalco had two hits and scored three times and Vinny Mastrangelo had two hits in two at-bats. Craig Palidar drove in a pair with two doubles and Matt Gibson had two RBI.
“We were looking below the hands and we didn’t want to swing at balls,” Mastrangelo said. “When we got our pitch, we were looking to hit it to the opposite field.”
Noah Fuchs had two of the Avalanche’s three hits. Bobby Cavalier had the other.