“The kid was a dominant pitcher today,” said Emerson coach Bob Carcich. “He was the story.”
The kid Carcich was talking about was starting pitcher David Palladino (3-0).
Palladino, who recently transferred from Paramus Catholic, tossed a no-hitter in the Cavos’ 2-0 win over Park Ridge in the state tournament quarterfinals.
While Palladino’s pitching was the big story, the execution of the Emerson offense was equally important.
“We played good, fundamental baseball,” Carcich said
Carcich realized early on that his pitcher wasn’t going to give up much, so getting any runs on the board might get him the win.
The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the third, when shortstop Matt Lewdon led off with a walk. Brandon Lacey was asked to lay down the sacrifice bunt and he did so perfectly, advancing Lewdon.
Palladino stepped up to help his own cause. He singled back up the middle scoring Lewdon, giving the Cavos a 1-0 lead.
“My team did their job today,” said Palladino.
Emerson added another run in the fifth inning. Lewdon led off the inning with a single and again Lacey executed a perfect sacrifice bunt. This time, however, Park Ridge intentionally walked Palladino.
Park Ridge pitcher Steve Kozar walked Nick Ercolano to load the bases and Dan Baker to force Lewdon home to give Emerson a 2-0 lead.
“We executed a lot of sacrifice bunts,” Carcich said. “We did the little things to help us get the win.”
Those two runs would be more than enough for Palladino.
He started off the game by retiring the side in order in the first two innings. After striking out Chris Lanzilotti to start the third, Palladino had his first hiccup when he walked Austin Clemente. But he got the next two batters to fly out.
Park Ridge’s best chance for a hit came from catcher Matt Misley.
Misley hit a screaming line drive to left in the first inning that was caught. Then in the fourth inning he drove a ball to deep right field, but it was caught at the fence.
Emerson catcher Dan Scala knew Palladino was throwing well and started to think about the no-hitter early in the game.
“I thought about it, but I didn’t want to mention it,” he said. “I didn’t want to psyche him out; I just wanted to keep him in that zone.”
Palladino retired the next 11 batters in a row, before walking Dan McEldowney with two outs in the seventh inning. He then finished the game in style by striking out Troy Manheimer looking.
Palladino finished the game with seven strikeouts and two walks, but he gave all the credit to his teammates.
“The infield made some nice plays today,” Palladino said. “The team had my back.”
Steve Kozar (6-2) took the tough luck loss for Park Ridge. He gave up six hits, walked four and had one strikeout
“We didn’t hit,” said Park Ridge coach Pete Crandell. “We didn’t play our best game today and we needed to.
BY KRIS DE BLASIO