The MacArthur bats never fully awoke during a three-game series with Calhoun last week.
After a 3-3 tie on April 16 with the game called in extra innings due to darkness, the Generals mustered just six hits in a 4-0 loss the following day and a 2-1 setback April 18. The largely silent offense coupled with some untimely errors took momentum away from MacArthur’s
3-0 start in Conference A-1 heading into this week’s showdown with first place Herricks.
“We were very sloppy defensively this week and we are not getting hits with guys on base,” said longtime MacArthur coach Steve Costello after his team’s 2-1 defeat in the finale in which Calhoun’s Anthony D’Andrea struck out eight. “One or two plays could have turned this week around.”
Sophomore pitcher JT Raab has emerged as MacArthur’s ace and set the Generals up for a win in the series-opening tie with nine strikeouts. Raab did not allow an earned run in seven innings of work against Calhoun a week after tossing a complete-game four-hitter in a 4-1 win against Great Neck South.
“He has been our most consistent pitcher,” Costello said of Raab, who also shinned at the plate in the Great Neck South victory by going 2-for-3 with an RBI. “He is getting the job done.”
Senior David Johnsen has been an offensive bright spot early in the season and was a spark plug in the Calhoun series. In the first game, Johnsen had an RBI single, walked, and scored a run to help the Generals rally from a 3-0 deficit to achieve a tie.
“Almost every at bat he hits the ball on the nose,” Costello said of Johnsen. “He has been hitting very well.”
Johnsen has also shined on the mound early in the season and picked up the win in MacArthur’s 15-5 home victory against Great Neck South on April 11. The General bats provided plenty of run support in that game anchored by Sean Tierney, who went 3-4 with two home runs and five RBIs. MacArthur poured it on early with an eight-run second inning that featured a grand small from Jimmy Mahoney and two-run homer by Kyle Gaertner.
MacArthur, which entered the week at 3-2-1 in Conference A-1, kicked off a three-game series with unbeaten Herricks (6-0) Monday that wraps up with a road game Thursday in New Hyde Park starting at 4:30 p.m. The Generals will then host Valley Stream Central on Monday for the start of another three-game set before closing the regular season with a series against Mepham the following week.
With nine league games remaining, Costello is hopeful the Generals can march in the right direction and grab a playoff spot. MacArthur can qualify for the postseason by finishing in the league’s top three or achieving one of the three best fourth-place finishes in Class A.
“We’ve been too inconsistent so far to achieve what we want to achieve,” Costello said. “If we play consistently we will be a playoff team.”