On a blustery March afternoon on the campus of Fordham University in the Bronx, Fordham Prep coach Steve Pettus boldly touted his pitching staff as the deepest in the CHSAA.
“I think we’ve got more pitching than any team in the league this year,” he said. “I think that’s going to be our strength.”
The Rams proved Pettus’ claims weren’t hollow as the squad’s depth on the mound was a big factor in their first CHSAA Class A intersectional championship since 1992.
“I’m gonna say we’re the best pitching staff in the city,” Ryan Fedak. “We really were.”
It’s hard to argue, especially with the team’s starters’ earned run average at less than 2.50.
Fedak, who came out of the bullpen twice on Sunday in a pair of victories against second-seeded Archbishop Stepinac, was one of four senior pitchers who came up huge during the postseason.
There was Sal Lisanti, the ace of the staff, who tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout on Saturday against Monsignor Farrell, left-hander Kenny O’Brien, who shut down top-seeded Xaverian Wednesday in the semifinal round and George Perrotta, the starting third baseman who came up huge in three elimination games in the playoffs.
Liam Josephson, who tossed a perfect game against Cardinal Hayes last season, was scheduled to be the No. 2, but had a labrum injury in his pitching shoulder early in the season.
While Lisanti, who will pitch at Bryant University next season, was the clear No. 1, the lines were blurred when it came to spots two through four. That’s because Pettus had confidence in each of them in big spots.
“We have four seniors and each one is better than the next,” Pettus said.
The Rams’ pitching depth was tested big time in the postseason. Because Fordham Prep finished third in Bronx/Manhattan ‘A,’ behind Stepinac and Mount St. Michael, the Rams had to play an elimination game against Monsignor McClancy and then went through a grueling three-game series against Bronx rival St. Raymond’s, losing the opener in heartbreaking fashion, just to get to the double-elimination quarterfinal series as the sixth out of eight seeds.
It was that loss to the Ravens, which ironically was decided on O’Brien’s bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth, that fueled the Rams the rest of the way.
The biggest surprise this season was Fedak, who was cut from the varsity team as a junior last year. He passed on football in the fall to try out again. He not only made the squad, but came out of the bullpen twice against Stepinac on Sunday to close out the Crusaders.