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Frank Sommers throws 3-hitter as Chaminade wins CHSAA crown

Chaminade starting pitcher Frank Sommers delivers to the

Chaminade starting pitcher Frank Sommers delivers to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 2 of the CHSAA final against St. Dominic at New York Institute of Technology on Monday, May 25, 2015. Photo Credit: James Escher

Chaminade left New York Tech with a much different taste than it had 12 months ago.

Last season, the Flyers lost to St. John the Baptist in the CHSAA baseball championship series. Many of the starters from that team returned as seniors, determined to avenge the loss. And they did just that.

Top-seeded Chaminade beat third-seeded St. Dominic, 10-0, on Monday to sweep the best-of-three series and earn its first CHSAA title since 2011.

Senior Frank Sommers tossed a three-hitter with five strikeouts and retired 14 straight batters at one point.

"Last year coming here," he said, "to see how felt and this year to finally feel like that, it's incredible."

Sommers said he felt strong in his bullpen sessions. His pitches were moving and he had the command he wanted.

After Sal Fradella tossed a 10-inning shutout Sunday in a 1-0 Game 1 victory, Sommers and Fradella discussed a plan for Game 2. There was a different strategy for each batter, but the result was the same: dominance.

Said coach Mike Pienkos, "I knew we were going to get a good game out of him today."

Pienkos' uncertainty about this year's team entering the season was about the pitchers. He knew if they performed well, this would be one of his best teams. Chaminade won 15 of its final 16 games.

"In my 33 years, it's really one of the best teams I've ever fielded," Pienkos said. "It's great to take them to the end, to the title like this."

The Flyers (19-3) broke open the game with a four-run fourth, highlighted by an RBI triple to centerfield by Cole Masterson, to take a 5-0 lead. Anthony Chiodi and Rob Aromiskis -- the championship tournament MVP -- each had an RBI double in the inning.

Beau O'Connell's two-out RBI double helped fuel a two-run sixth. Chaminade added a three-run seventh in which eight Flyers -- all off the bench -- batted. Theodore Capsis' two-run double gave Chaminade a 9-0 lead and Joe Pizzingrillo drove in the final run with a double.

Ten Flyers had hits and 13 players reached base. Pienkos "loved" getting many players in the game, saying: "It was really fun to watch. It's nice to get everybody involved."

After the game, Chiodi took in the moment.

"Honestly, it's surreal a little bit, four years working to this, and it hasn't really hit me yet," he said. "But I feel like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and know we won -- we are the best in the league."

After inducing a game-ending groundout, Sommers jumped in the arms of catcher Straton Podaras, and the pile quickly grew. They remembered watching the celebration from the losing dugout last season.

"They had that taste, and they had a bitter taste and they didn't want to taste that again," Pienkos said.

Fradella was named CHSAA pitcher of the year in the postgame ceremony. Reiss Knehr of St. Dominic (13-9), who tossed nine shutout innings in Game 1 and started at second base Monday, was named player of the year.

Sommers finished his high school career where he hoped -- on the top of a mound, followed by the bottom of a pile.

"To end my Chaminade career with a win means a lot," he said. "It definitely does. To be on the hill and do it means even more."

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