Chris Lydon bounced back from a forgettable outing to give a performance Monday evening that he surely will remember for a long time.
Lydon tossed a two-hitter and Nick Campagnuolo went 3-for-3 with a walk and a bases-clearing double to lead No. 2 Clarke to a 7-0 win over Division in the deciding Game 3 of the Nassau Class A championship at SUNY-Old Westbury. The Rams (23-3-1) will face Sayville for the Long Island championship on Saturday 7 p.m. at the same location.
“This is the best feeling in the world,” said Lydon, who struck out four and threw 124 pitches. “I’m glad I could get it done for my team. They’ve helped me throughout the season and I just wanted to help them.”
He had allowed five runs in 2 ⅓ innings in the series opener on Friday, but the Clarke offense rallied for a 13-6 win.
“I just needed to forget about that, come back and come out stronger,” Lydon said of his Game 1 start. “I think I had a tighter spin on my curveball, I located it a lot better and the changeup was working well today.”
It was evident that things were working much better for Lydon, as he cruised after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. After inducing a flyout and a groundout to end the first, he allowed only two more runners past first base.
“We told him, ‘relax, go out there and do what you do,’” Clarke coach Tom Abruscato said. “After his first pitch, I turned to [assistant coach Joe] Fusco and said ‘he looks good today.’”
The Clarke offense looked the part as well, as Matt DeStefano opened the scoring with a first-inning sacrifice fly and Lydon hit a single that made it 2-0 in the second. In the third, Pavlos Papoutsakis scored on an error with two outs, before Campagnuolo came to the plate with the bases loaded.
“I was looking for a fastball and I took advantage of what he threw,” the junior said of his double to leftfield that extended Clarke’s lead to 6-0. “I thought it would be a nice single but it traveled and everybody scored ... I knew once I got on second base that Chris was going to shut the door.”
Clarke added another run after Tyler Cox (2-for-3 with a walk) scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning.
Division (21-5) got its fifth and sixth walks of the day with two outs in the seventh inning, before Lydon recorded his fourth strikeout of the game to end the game.
“Chris had it on the mound,” Campagnuolo said. “He was dealing the whole day and he pitched amazing.”