Ward Melville stopped cold in state baseball semis

Ward Melville's Kyle Pedroli makes the play as Ward Melville's Kyle Pedroli makes the play as Baldwinsville's Jacob Norton slides at home plate in the fifth inning, during the semifinals of the Class AA State Championships. (June 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Thomas La Barbera

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- A season of firsts for Ward Melville ended here Saturday. The Patriots squared off against Baldwinsville junior Scott Blewett, one of the state's best pitchers, and couldn't solve the righthander in a 2-0 state Class AA baseball semifinal loss before a crowd of about 800 at Binghamton University.

Blewett allowed three hits and struck out nine in the semifinal and the Bees went on to win the state title with a 4-1 win over Clarence in the nightcap. Ward Melville had won 11 straight and 15 of 16 but was derailed by the St. John's University-bound Blewett, who mixed an 88-mph fastball with a sharp curveball.

"He was almost unhittable,'' said Ward Melville senior Anthony Kay, who pitched a complete game and gained some consolation when he was drafted by the Mets with the sixth pick in the 29th round Saturday. "His curveball was on and he hit his spots. We had an amazing season and we battled but came up short.''

The lefthanded Kay, the Gibson Award winner as Suffolk's pitcher of the year as a junior last season, allowed a run in each of the first two innings. He scattered seven hits, walked four, struck out seven and finished his career with a school-record 20 wins. If he doesn't sign with the Mets, he will take his talents to the University of Connecticut in the fall.

"He's one of the reasons why we're at this level of play,'' Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci said. "His leadership, skill set and ability led us places Ward Melville has never gone. I'm super-proud of these guys and Anthony Kay for helping us establish our program as a winning entity.''

Ward Melville captured its first Suffolk Class AA championship this season with a 12-5 win over Connetquot, then earned the school's first Long Island crown with a 1-0 win over Massapequa behind junior righthander Chris Cepeda, who fired a three-hitter.

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Petrucci wanted his ace on the hill Saturday and gave the ball to Kay, who established 17 school pitching records in his career and earlier this season tossed Ward Melville's first no-hitter since Kevin Cook in 1991.

Kay struck out the first two batters but Baldwinsville (21-4) got a double from Gabe Levanti and an opposite-field bloop single to left by Pat Merryweather for a 1-0 lead.

"We've won so many games by being opportunistic,'' Petrucci said. "And that's how we lost today. The breaks went their way and not ours. It was a good ballgame. They had some fortunate hits and we didn't.''

Blewett drilled a solo home run to leftfield in the second inning for a 2-0 lead. The Bees loaded the bases with one out but Kay struck out Josh Savacool and induced Levanti to pop up.

The Patriots were held hitless through the first four innings, but Ward Melville threatened in the first before Blewett struck out Kyle Pedroli and Joe Flynn with runners at second and third. In the fifth, singles by Nick Vitale, Cepeda and Greg Coman loaded the bases with one out. After Kay flied out, Pedroli hit a hard grounder to short for an inning-ending forceout.

"We had our shot right there,'' Petrucci said. "That ball is three or four feet to either side and we have a tied game.''

Blewett retired the final six batters for the win.

Petrucci was emotional when speaking with his team afterward, crediting the players with having the best season in school history and finishing with a 20-6 record. "It was our first 20-win season,'' Petrucci said. "It was a lot of winning and a lot of firsts. It was a great ride.''

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