St. Anthony's pitcher Ryan Reynolds delivers to Archbishop Molloy at CHSAA...

St. Anthony's pitcher Ryan Reynolds delivers to Archbishop Molloy at CHSAA state semifinals on Friday, June 7, 2024 at Fordham. Credit: Louis Lanzano

St. Anthony’s entered the state CHSAA semifinal with the momentum of ending a 24-year drought.

That momentum faded quickly as Archbishop Molloy scored five runs in the first inning and defeated St. Anthony’s, 8-4, at Fordham on Friday night. St. Anthony’s outhit Molloy 4-3.

The Friars (19-10) couldn’t find the plate early as they allowed five runs without giving up a hit in the first inning. Charlie Lods hit a one-out, bases-clearing triple in the second inning for Molloy, extending its lead to 8-0.

“We did what we could, we basically gave up eight runs on one hit,” St. Anthony’s coach Paul Parsolano said. “It’s deflating to any team to be down, especially in a game of this magnitude.”

The Stanners (19-6) once again had the bases loaded with one out in the third. Reliever Ryan Reynolds entered for St. Anthony’s and induced a comebacker to start an inning-ending double play.

“It certainly felt good to come through in that spot,” Reynolds said. “It’s the spot I should be in and it felt good to be able to play on this stage.”

St. Anthony’s threw three seniors out of the bullpen who held Molloy to one run in five innings. John Didden allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings, Reynolds allowed no runs in 2 1/3 and Lucas Abbatiello pitched a 1-2-3 sixth.

“This was the same collection of guys who pitched in relief against Holy Trinity in the championship game,” Parsolano said. “They’ve been good all year and they kept us in the game.”

Michael Carr drew a bases-loaded walk for St. Anthony’s to give the Friars their first run. The next batter worked a 3-and-2 count before flying out, as Molloy held an 8-1 lead in the fourth.

Senior Nicholas Skjeveland told his teammates that he could “feel the air shift” as he turned his cap inside out and encouraged his team to rally in the top of the seventh. The Friars loaded the bases with one out and scored on an error, before Adrian Tavarez ripped a two-out double to trim the deficit to 8-4.

“We started this season 2-5, it was pretty rough,” Reynolds said. “To come back and have a winning record, says a lot about this team and how well we can play.”

St. Anthony’s put together an impressive season, culminating in a 4-3 win in nine innings over Holy Trinity, completing a two-game sweep in the NSCHSAA finals. It was the Friars' first league title in 24 years and the program’s fifth overall.

“I’ll always be happy for these guys. They are very young, and they didn’t roll over, they scored three in the last inning,” Parsolano said. “We accomplished phase one this year, we won a league title. Next year we’ll come back and get the state title.”

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