Chris Cappas wanted his senior season to end with another CHSAA baseball title. The Kellenberg lefthander took a 12-inning scoreless streak into Friday’s first-place showdown at St. Anthony’s in South Huntington.
That streak was extended to 18 2⁄3 innings after Cappas shut down St. Anthony’s offense in a brilliant outing.
Cappas allowed only four baserunners as Kellenberg shut out St. Anthony’s, 3-0, to capture back-to-back CHSAA regular-season titles for the first time in school history.
Kellenberg finished at 14-4 and St. Anthony’s fell to 13-5.
“St. Anthony’s made me work deep into counts and I had to trust my defense,” said Cappas, who was CHSAA pitcher of the year as a junior. “The defense was flawless and it gave us the top seed and the extra bye in the playoffs. It was a big win.”
Cappas, who struck out four and improved to 5-1, reached the state pitch-count maximum at 105 after the second out of the seventh inning and was removed for reliever Mike Laskowski.
He walked off to a nice ovation and watched Laskowski record the final out for the save.
“He made his pitches and our defense played well,” Kellenberg coach Chris Alfalla said. “I’m happy, first time we’ve won back-to-back titles.”
Cappas cruised through the first six innings. He allowed one hit, one walk and hit one batter. No St. Anthony’s baserunner reached third base in the game.
St. Anthony’s junior Colin Kehoe threw four scoreless innings and matched zeros with Cappas. He scattered three hits and got some defensive help to keep the Firebirds off the board.
Justin Renner led off the second inning with a single and stole second. After two were out, Jonah Katz grounded a single to leftfield and hard charging Noah Fortuna unleashed a one-hop throw to catcher Kyle LaGrutta, who spun and applied the tag on Renner to end the threat.
Fortuna wasn’t done on defense. With two outs in the fourth, Jake Barrett walked and stole second. Jason Diaz drove a long fly ball into the left-centerfield gap. Fortuna got a great jump and made a spectacular diving catch to rob Diaz of an extra-base hit and keep the game scoreless.
St. Anthony’s defense unraveled in the fifth inning. Reliever Logan Vallas hit Jonah Katz with a pitch to lead off the inning and Terrance Murray reached on a sacrifice bunt when no one covered first base.
Andrew Russell followed with another sacrifice bunt and this time two Friars defenders bumped into one another and all runners were safe to load the bases.
Jack Delaney laced a two-run single to left-centerfield just out of the diving reach of Cameron Tomaiko for a 2-0 lead. Cappas followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0.
Delaney reached base in all four plate appearances. He had two hits and two walks.
“It was a 3-2 fastball and I just went with the pitch the other way,” said Delaney, who has four game-winning hits this season. “And I wasn’t sure if the centerfielder was going to make another great catch.”
Said Alfalla, “Jack’s been clutch all year. But that St. Anthony’s outfield is super athletic, the best defense we’ve seen all year. He found the right spot.”