Division starting pitcher Anthony Papa had been working out of trouble all day. The Blue Dragons righthander wasn't overpowering the Clarke lineup but was doing more than enough to keep his team in the game.
Dan Boldi finally delivered a key two-run single as part of a three-run fifth and Papa made it stand up with six innings of four-hit ball to lead Division to a 7-3 win over Clarke Thursday in a Nassau Class A crossover that was called after six innings because of darkness.
"I felt good," Papa said. "I had my stuff and pitching against a lineup like that intimidates some people, but you have to just stay within yourself and keep throwing strikes."
Clarke (5-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a two-run double by Matt Seelinger in the second and led 3-1 heading into the fifth. Division (6-0) opened the inning with back-to-back singles by James Varela and Justin Wiertz. Clarke reliever Mike Turton was able to get a strikeout but walked sluggers Mark Martinez and Papa to force in a run and bring up Boldi, who followed with the biggest hit in the game.
"When I got that base hit it was a great feeling," Boldi said. "I'm glad we were able to get those two runs and the win."
Division tacked on three runs in the sixth thanks to two infield hits and three infield errors and Papa finished strongly, striking out the side in the sixth -- his only strikeouts.
"I didn't feel like I was getting stronger or weaker," Papa said. "I just went through the same motion and did the same thing the whole game. Pitching with a lead is always better."
The Blue Dragons once again got the job done offensively. Division has scored double-digit runs in its last four games.
"We've been hitting the ball very well so I wasn't surprised how we hit today," Division coach Tom Tuttle said. "We're going to see Clarke later on in the year. Clarke and Division is like the Yankees and the Red Sox. It's two great programs and well-coached teams. We anticipate seeing them and hopefully it will be towards the end of the playoffs."