Jordan Boyer could feel fatigue setting in during the middle innings. The Bellmore JFK righthander allowed one run in the fourth and fifth innings, but he didn't relinquish the lead.
Boyer relied on his curveball a little more in the final two innings and finished strongly. He struck out the side in the sixth and allowed a two-out hit in the seventh before closing out a 4-2 win for host No. 3 Bellmore JFK over No. 7 Carey in Game 1 of the best-of-three Nassau Class AA quarterfinals Wednesday.
Bellmore JFK plays at Carey in Game 2 at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.
"I was getting tired at the end. You just have to work your way through it," said Boyer, who allowed seven hits, struck out seven and walked none. "At the end, we went with the curveball more. I really hit my spots with my curveball. It was breaking well. I kept them off balance."
Said Bellmore JFK coach Eric Passman: "He spotted his curve and splitter tremendously. That was the difference. When the curveball is on like that, he's tough to hit."
Bellmore JFK (16-4) took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Michael McCormick and David Leiderman hit consecutive singles and advanced into scoring position on a ground out. After a batter was hit and a strikeout, Jake Schwartz hit a two-run single and Brandon Serota later added an RBI walk.
"That really puts a damper on them," said Leiderman, who went 2-for-3 with a run and stolen base. " . . . That's a clutch hit by Jake."
Steven Marino had an RBI double in the fourth to bring Carey (10-11) within 3-1 before Noah Schulman's sacrifice fly made it 4-1 in the bottom of the inning.
"Coming in with a lot of seniors, we knew we were going to be good," Boyer said. "It's a matter of how far. This is a big start."
Thanks to Boyer's big finish.