Catcher Elvin Soto felt disappointed that he wasn’t chosen in the major league baseball draft last week during the time of the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association playoffs.
However, when the championship game rolled around, he forgot about the draft, letting ‘it’ all behind him, and had a run batted in singles in a two-out first inning. He helped to lead the Xaverian Clippers (21-2) to a 7-1 triumph over All Hallows of The Bronx (17-7) for the CHSAA intersectional Class ‘AA’ championship, culminating a double elimination playoff tournament.
The victory marked the seventh city-wide Class ‘AA’ title in the history of the Brooklyn based school, dating back to its first in 1990. The past championship season also marked the second straight one for Head Coach Lou Piccola, who returned to the school after taking a brief absence as its coach.
“We showed a lot of chemistry, worked hard, and picked each other up,” said Soto, whose father was a basketball player in the Dominican Republic. “I worked so hard but I didn’t let that (not being drafted) effect me… I’ll use it (this title) as a build-up to go to college (University of Pittsburgh). Not being chosen wasn’t a big deal.”
It wasn’t only the offense but also it was a strong, deep and almost perfect pitching staff, led by Anthony Pastrana, who struck out nine batters in almost five innings.
“He did his job,” continued Soto, a resident of The Bronx.
Because Pastrana started to struggle a little bit in the fifth inning, Blaise Scerbo came in to put out the “fire” and finished up.
The boys had a great feeling in winning the title. They thus brought the trophy back to the school.
“It builds up the name to the school,” Soto, one of the top hitters in the league, went on.
“After we lost last year, we came back and worked hard in the gym, after school and before school (to accomplish what we did),” said leadoff batter Antonio Nunez, who resides in Bushwick. “It was amazing and great.”
For the amount of titles that Xaverian possess, it is a tremendous school for baseball and academics. The baseball program at Xaverian even attracts students who reside a long distance from the school.
And Nunez, who is very dedicated to the sport as all of his teammates, falls into the category!
“My father, who was born in the Dominican Republic, always wanted me to go to this school,” he said after the game. “He told me that his dream was for me to win a championship.”
And the title all came about!
Overall, the student body, teachers, faculty, and athletic department are very proud of the team’s accomplishments.
“The players worked hard all season,” noted athletic director Jeff O’Brien. “They deserved everything that they had. They almost had it last season. It’s almost the same team this year (that it was last), Pitching has been strong and deep all season.”