Mepham tops Kennedy in series opener


Mepham junior Kyle Bowers blasted a two-run homer over the fence in center to cap a four-run top of the third inning for the Pirates as they cruised past Kennedy, 10-3, in the opening game of this week’s Conference A-I baseball series on Monday morning.

Senior Kevin Chaimowitz went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and three runs scored and junior leadoff hitter Billy McAdam reached base four times to back the stellar pitching of junior Mike Proios. The Cougars managed just two hits in five scoreless innings against Proios, who struck out eight and walked three.

“Mike’s been a workhorse for us every time he’s pitched,” Mepham coach Bill Murphy said of Proios, who escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second. “He was dominant today and we got some key hits to give him plenty of support,” he added. “We haven’t been stringing hits together as much as we’d like, but I’m glad to see the kids aren’t pressing.”

The Pirates improved to 5-3-1 overall and 3-3-1 in A-I, while Kennedy fell to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in conference games.

Mepham pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the second off Cougars senior pitcher Anthony Citarelli. Chaimowitz hit a leadoff double and scored the game’s first run on an opposite-field single to left by senior Matt Nilsen. With two outs, Nilsen scored on an error for a 2-0 lead.

Kennedy, which lost its fourth straight after sweeping a doubleheader against Great Neck South on April 8, drew three consecutive walks — the only free passes issued by Proios — in the bottom half of the inning but couldn’t cash in. Proios struck out two batters and got junior Justin Coules on a fielder’s choice to end the threat.

The Pirates batted around in the third and had a 6-0 lead when the dust settled. Senior Mike Valentino led off with a triple and scored on a single by Chaimowitz, who was on base when Bowers homered. Sophomore Gianni Macchio tripled with two outs and scored on a run-scoring single off the bat of senior Brian Porricelli.

Proios, who fanned 12 in his previous start, a 9-2 win over Manhasset on April 10, allowed just one baserunner over the next three innings. He retired the side in order in the third and fourth, and allowed a two-out single to Coules in the fifth.

Mepham added three runs in the sixth for a 9-0 cushion. Senior Kevin Weber had a pinch-hit, two-run single to cap the rally. Kennedy answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning with RBIs from sophomore Zach Rosenfeld, senior Jack Ryan and Coules.

“The way we just played is how we feel we’re capable of playing on a consistent basis,” Murphy said. “We weren’t happy with our performances against Garden City and Manhasset. We have a lot of talent and are too good of a team to not produce runs like we did today.”