Brendan Turton was in full control of this one.
The Clarke ace was moving his fastball in and out and keeping the MacArthur hitters off balance with a beauty of a changeup.
Turton scattered seven hits, struck out six and allowed as Clarke shut out MacArthur, 5-0, yesterday in the decisive game of the best of three series in the Nassau Class A semifinals in Westbury.
The win improved Turton to 8-0 with one save. The Diamond Award finalist has allowed only three runs in 53 innings of work this season.
“He’s been fairly dominant all season,” Clarke coach Tom Abruscato said. “Today, it was more of the same.”
No. 2 Clarke will meet No. 3 Division, for the Nassau Class A championship in a best of three series at SUNY-Old Westbury that begins on Friday at a time to be determined.
The Rams built a two-run lead in the third with three consecutive hits. Leadoff man CJ Cumbo doubled to left with one out and scored when Nick Campagnuolo drilled a single to center for the 1-0 lead. On the ensuing throw to the plate, Campagnuolo moved to second base.
Sophomore Tyler Cox singled, moving Campagnuolo to third, before Chris Giardino grounded to short for the RBI fielder’s choice to make it 2-0.
It was all Turton would need.
“I felt like I had command of all three of my pitches, the fastball, changeup and knuckle-curve,” Turton said. “And getting the early lead really takes the weight off me.”
Clarke (21-2-1) added two more runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to grow the lead. With one out in the fourth, the Rams showed some extra base-hit power. Pavlos Papoutsakis doubled and scored on a Derek Smith triple. Smith later scored on a balk to make it 4-0.
“We hit throughout the order,” Abruscato said. “And this is a very young group. We only have one senior starter. They’ve really come into their own.”
In the fifth, Cox singled for his second hit of the game and scored on a two-out single by Matt DeStefano for the final margin.
“It’s not one guy,” Abruscato said. “They all contribute.”
Turton tired in the seventh. His pitch count approached the limit and the heat was having an effect on him. With two outs, MacArthur (15-9-1) managed to load the bases with three straight hits. It was the first time a MacArthur runner had reached third base in the game.
“I went out there and he said he was almost out of gas,” Abruscato said. “He said he could get one more out. I gave him one more batter.”
Turton induced an inning-ending popup to Cumbo at shortstop.
“I was a little dehydrated at the end,” Turton said. “But we finished it up.”