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    Armstrong powers The O past Pleasantville

    by Kevin Devaney Jr. on
    Tue, May 8, 2012 11:12 PM

    Updated Wed, May 9, 2012 11:43 AM

    Follow baseball in the Hudson Valley on Twitter: @MSGVarsityKDJ

    OSSINING, N.Y. — It’s getting to the point where Rashawn Armstrong has forgotten what it’s like to pitch in pleasant conditions.

    The Ossining ace left-hander took the mound in the cold and rain on Tuesday. And again he delivered. Armstrong pitched six-plus strong innings, allowing just four hits and striking out six in a 6-4 win over Pleasantville at home.

    “It seems like I always have to be pitch in these conditions,” Armstrong said. “My arm gets a little tight and you focus more on getting the ball over and staying ahead in counts instead of overpowering everybody.”

    Armstrong had issues with his control at times as the rain worsened but had the benefit for a flawless Ossining defense, which didn’t commit an error. The Pride ended the game when reliever Zach Giusti induced a 1-6-4 double play after the Panthers threatened with the tying run at the plate and nobody out..

    The victory ended a two-game losing skid for Ossining, which improved to 10-6 and picked up a key League III-B victory.

    “This was a big win for us coming off the two losses,” Armstrong said. “I’m glad to see we picked it up, especially with the bats. Hopefully we can keep it up.”

    Tuesday started a little slow at the plate for Ossining as Pleasantville jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Sophomore Anthony Godino did the damage, lacing a two-out, two-run single to center.

    The Pride responded in the bottom of the inning. Sean Tierney drew a bases loaded walk and Marist-bound senior Matt Belitz, who was terrific defensive at shortstop, tied it with a sacrifice-fly to center.

    James Laitman snapped the 2-2 tie with a two-run single later in the inning as Ossining seized control.

    After Pleasantville’s Mike Cecchetelli made it a 4-3 game in the third with an opposite-field homer, Ossining lefty Mike Haag connected on an opposite-field blast of his own. The two-run shot scored Greg Lamb, who had two hits and two runs scored.

    “I was just looking for my pitch and I hit out,” Haag said. “I got a fastball right down the middle. That’s where I like it.”

    It was the first homer of the season for Haag and third of his career. But this was the first that wasn’t immediately followed by an injury.

    Last season Haag hit homers against Briarcliff and Pleasantville. And in the following inning both times, he separated his shoulder making a play at first base.

    “He has a good sense of humor,” Ossining coach Bill Casey said. “In the next inning today, he had to make a scoop at first base and turned to the bench pretending like he hurt himself. We all got nervous for a second.”
    Armstrong and Pleasantville starter Joe Chaisson, a senior left-hander, dueled in the next few innings before the Panthers threatened to ruin Armstrong’s efforts in the seventh.

    Danny Schulman led off the inning with a single. In came Giusti, who issued a walk to Godino and a bunt single by Steve Sicignano to load the bases.

    But Giusti held on. He surrendered a deep flyball to Nick Greto that brought in a run before inducing the game-ending double play.

    “We just never back down,” Laitman said. “We haven’t hit well of late but we picked it up. We are just playing really well.”

    Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at kdevaney@cablevision.com

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