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SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- Gus Passov tried to do a little internet scouting on Sleepy Hollow before his start on Monday. But the Irvington right-hander couldn't find much.
All he kept reading was that the Headless Horsemen were undefeated.
Turns out, that's all the motivation he and the Bulldogs needed.
Irvington ended Sleepy's 11-game winning streak to open the season a strong 6-3 victory on the road.
“This is a feel good win,” Irvington senior Alex Bennet said. “Every win means something but this one has a little more to it.”
Passov allowed one earned run in 6 1/3 innings with three strikeouts to notch the win.
"You have to motivated for every game, but playing and undefeated that’s ranked in the state made me even more motivated to go out there and pitch a good game,” said Passov, who stayed ahead in counts and kept the Horsemen off-balance with his breaking ball. “Our coach said to throw them a steady diet of curveballs because they’re a fastball hitting team. That’s all I did.”
Irvington now assumes the title as the hottest team this side of the Hudson. The Bulldogs have won 10 of 12, the most recent being a stunning win over Class AA White Plains and a Sleepy team that was ranked seventh in the state in Class A.
“We didn’t have a few people in the beginning of the year,” Bennet said. “We are finally getting back to full strength. Early in the year, you have those jitters. And now those jitters are out.
“Confidence is high and it should be. Those are two great ball clubs. But they’re over and now we have to move on.”
Sleepy wouldn't let it's perfect record go down without a fight. The Horsemen cut the deficit to three with an RBI single by Peter Pena. The 6-foot-4 junior catcher had homered the previous inning.
With two men on and the tying run at the plate, reliever Miles Semetis ended it with a strikeout and deep fly out to right center.
"It definitely means something," said Semetis, who doubled, drove in two runs and reached base four times. "Not only because it’s Sleepy Hollow but because it’s a league game."
Irvington took advantage of seven Sleepy Hollow errors, three of which keyed a two-run third inning. Two more were part of a four-run fifth.
Bennet delivered a key two-out, two-run single in the fifth to put Irvington ahead 4-1.
“It felt good,” Bennet said. “I’ve been in a slump for a little while. Getting that rip really helped the team out. It’s nice doing that and being a senior team leader.”
The defensive struggles for Sleepy ruined a solid pitching performance by Edwin Lopez. The junior righty allowed only three earned runs in six innings with four strikeouts.
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org