Sean McNamara isn’t a prototypical ace. He doesn’t throw especially hard and doesn’t have a lot in his arsenal.
Fordham Prep’s lanky junior likes to keep things simple, especially Tuesday afternoon in New Rochelle. McNamara threw one pitch – his 80-mph fastball – for strikes and let his defense take care of the rest.
“They eat up ground balls,” McNamara said. “[Andrew Velazquez] is a great shortstop and you have Vinny [Capone] and [Ryan] Mahoney at second and third and they make plays and of course you have Jack [Sexton] at first. He scoops anything.”
McNamara pitched six shutout innings en route to a complete-game 9-2 victory for Fordham Prep against rival Iona Prep in a CHSAA Class AA Bronx/Westchester game.
It was the Rams league opener after a preseason trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. and it was clear from the outset Fordham Prep was anxious to prove a point against an Iona Prep team considered by many as a favorite to win the CHSAA Class AA title.
“We definitely came out and wanted to make a statement for the rest of the league, especially since we stared late,” Velazquez said. “We wanted to come out and prove we’re ready and we did that.”
Until getting into a little trouble in the seventh, McNamara scattered four hits through six innings. He struck out five and walked just two.
“He throws strikes,” Fordham Prep coach Pat Deane said. “Obviously he has great velocity, he hits his spots, keeps the team involved, doesn’t throw many pitches. I don’t think it’s brain surgery, honestly. Throw strikes and that’s what he’s going to do every fifth day.”
“You’ll see this kid out at all the big games this year,” Deane added. “He’s going to keep us around. He doesn’t get rattled.”
Offensively, there were contributions throughout the Fordham Prep lineup. Ryan Mahoney was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, Zach Leone was 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored and a walk, Kevin Flynn was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored and Mick Regan drove in two runs.
Fordham Prep, ranked No. 8 in New York City by MSG Varsity, scored once in the first and tacked on two runs in each of the next two innings to take a commanding 5-0 lead into the fourth. The Rams chased Temple-bound lefty Tim McCarthy after two innings and Iona Prep used five different pitchers.
Velazquez put the game out of reach with an estimated 385-foot bomb over the fence in right-center in the sixth inning. The Virginia Tech-bound shortstop’s three-run blast gave the Rams an 8-0 lead.
“I’m aggressive, so every time I get in the box if they’re going to throw it over the middle, I’m ready to hit,” Velazquez said. “He threw middle in and I just put a good swing on it.”
Velazquez also laced a single to right in the second, stole a base, scored a run and turned an inning-ending double play in the first.
“Not a bad guy to set the table,” Deane said of Velazquez. “As he goes, we go.”
McNamara joked he was still in awe of Velazquez’s home run when he went out in the seventh trying to get the complete-game shutout. Iona Prep (2-2) loaded the bases with one out on an error, a single by pinch hitter Christian Berg and a walk. Matt Brems followed with an RBI single to right and Vinny DeMaria added an infield single deep in the hole at short for the Gaels only runs.
“It’s great to have run support,” McCarthy said. “You get nine runs, you throw strikes. That’s all you need.”
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