Fordham Prep squanders late lead against Kennedy Catholic

It was the very rare occasion for Fordham Prep where a lead wasn’t safe with its ace.

Rams coach Pat Deane said he never considered taking Conor McNamara out of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. The junior righty had navigated his way around three errors and multiple jams before allowing four runs in the final frame. Kennedy’s Frank Dean lined a walk-off single over first with the base loaded and one out in the frame.

The hit handed Fordham Prep a hard to swallow 6-5 defeat to host Kennedy Catholic in CHSAA baseball on Thursday. The Rams beat the Crusaders 4-0 Tuesday, but could not get the second meeting.

“He’s our No. 1,” said Pat Deane, who had a reliever warming up. “Three-run lead, there is no way that would ever happen. That will never happen again.”

Fordham led 5-2 heading into the final frame before McNamara allowed four hits, including a long two-run double to St. John’s University commit Gavin Garay. The Rams had a chance to win, 5-4, but could not turn a slow ground ball to short by Gleb Kharkin into a double play.

McNamara was sensational up until the point, allowing just an unearned run in the first inning. He struck out seven by mixing his fastball and off-speed pitches well and kept the ball down. McNamara worked around some defensive miscues. He stranded two runners in the first, the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth and two more runners in the sixth.

“Maybe he just ran out of steam, but I thought he looked good all game,” Fordham Prep catcher William Duffy said. “If we had played better defense behind him I think he would have been out of innings quicker.”

The Rams offense finally gave him some offensive support with five runs in the fifth inning. Duffy got them on the board with a booming double to left that scored James Hulbert, who also doubled. Lorenzo Hiraldo and Chris Pace both drove in a run in the frame.

“The team needed a hit,” Duffy said. “I came up confident, ready to hit.”

Unfortunately for the Rams it didn’t cash in on other scoring opportunities. It loaded the bases with two outs against Kennedy Catholic starter Matt Milkulsky in the first inning and stranded two more runners with two outs in the sixth against reliever Ryan Marrone.

The game was just another example of the inconsistent nature Fordham has shown this season. Fordham, which saw star shortstop Sebastiano Santorelli transfer before the year started, is off to a 3-4 start in league play. It can’t seem to get any momentum going as some new faces get used to increased roles.

“We have been up and down all year,” Deane said. “A tale of two teams and we have been.”

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