Mark Faello had more than 10 months to think about his final varsity start last season. And luckily for him, once this spring came around, he didn’t have to wait much longer to get another shot at the team that ended his season.
Faello tossed a one-hitter to lead Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK to a 4-0 victory over host East Meadow Thursday in Nassau AA-II baseball. East Meadow, the defending county champions, ended Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK’s season in the quarterfinals last year.
“It was a pleasure,” said Faello, who had seven strikeouts, including the final batter of the game. “Last year I had a good season and beating the team that knocked us out last year, it was definitely a good time.”
Faello, committed to Hofstra, dominated the game throughout, striking out at least one hitter in every inning except one and retiring the first 10 Jets batters. Tyler Patterson had East Meadow’s lone hit — a single to centerfield in the fifth inning — and Faello only surrendered two walks.
“He was doing the same thing last year,” second baseman Nick Franco said. “We’re looking for pretty much a no-hitter, one-hitter every time he’s out there pitching.”
Franco got the Hawks’ offense started with a full-count, two-out RBI double to leftfield to score Tyler Marinaccio in the first inning. Faello and East Meadow’s Patrick Hoffman traded scoreless frames from there until the Hawks scored two runs off three Jets errors in the fourth inning to take a 3-0 lead. Marinaccio, who led off the inning with a single, scored his second run on the game for the Hawks and Max Braccia scored the third run of the game on a wild pitch.
The Hawks (2-0) added their final insurance run on Franco’s RBI single, a dribbling hit toward the third-base line to score Zach Stromberg in the fifth inning, leaving Franco to say, “I’ll take it. Any RBI will count.”
Franco was in a new role, which paid immediate dividends for the Hawks. In his first game batting fourth in the order, Franco went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
“I wasn’t expecting to bat fourth,” Franco said. “It’s a big mentality. It’s a big spot batting fourth.”
But on a cold afternoon, it was Faello’s warm arm that carried the Hawks, throwing hard and mixing speeds to keep East Meadow (0-2) hitters off-balance — something his teammates have grown accustomed to.
“He’s one of the best pitchers in the county, no question,” coach John Givargidze said. “So every time he goes out there, we know we have a really good shot to win.”
But even Faello wasn’t anticipating throwing a one-hitter before April.
“I did not expect that, especially in my first start,” the junior righthander said. “I was just hoping to get the ‘W’ for my team.”