Pearl River trailed by three runs when senior Jordan Mendelson came on in relief with one out in the top of the third inning of Saturday's home game against Albertus Magnus.
"I have to hold them where they are," Mendelson said of his thinking when he took the mound. "Don't try to do anything too special. Keep them off balance and try to keep us in the game."
Mendelson gave up a sacrifice fly to push the Falcons' lead to four, but he shut Albertus Magnus down from there and Pearl River rallied for an 11-4 victory.
"Jordan did a great job of coming in and shutting the door on them," Pearl River Head Coach Bruce Miller said.
Junior John Doherty made an emergency start or the Pirates because senior Mike Vinci sprained his left ankle Friday.
Albertus Magnus took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The Falcons loaded the bases on walks to Andrew Schweitzer and Nico Denise and a hit by Mike Sarvis. Casey Kern and Will Callahan followed with RBI singles, then Sarvis scored on a fielder's choice.
Schweitzer again walked and scored in the third, this time scoring on a sacrifice fly by Sarvis.
From there, Mendelson shut Albertus Magnus down, giving up only two hits and one walk in 4 2/3 innings.
"My changeup was pretty good," Mendelson said. "My curveball, I couldn't get it over, but my changeup was good and I was hitting spots with my fastball."
The Pirates' bats came to life in the bottom of the third taking advantage of defensive miscues by the Falcons to score seven runs.
"That’s our other thing offensively," Miller said. "We know that when you strike out, runners don’t advance. You don’t make anything good happen. We teach putting the ball in play. Make something good happen. Force the defense to make a play. That’s what we’ve been doing all year. We hit the ball very well today. They did make some errors and we took advantage of that."
Mendelson came up with one of the key hits, a two-run single that brought home Chris Beers and Rich Masley and moved Jake Tedesco to third, where he could score on John Brebbia's sacrifice fly. Tedesco had reached on one of the Falcons' errors in the inning, a dropped pop-up.
"Everyone that inning was doing a great job of just putting the ball in play," Mendelson said. "Like Jake before me. He got two strikes on him. He hit a pop-up and the kid dropped it. He made something good happen by putting the ball in play."
Tedesco, who had singled, and Mendelson, who had walked, both came in to score runs on an error in the fourth inning to push the Pearl River advantage to 9-4. The Pirates added two more runs in the sixth for the final 11-4 margin.
"Without a doubt, our strengths are pitching and defense," Miller said. "Offensively, it's been a nice surprise so far. Hopefully, we can keep the bats going."
Junior Shane Ocasal went 3-for-4 with a double and Tedesco was 3-for-4 with two runs scored for Pearl River. Doherty had two hits in the contest.
Pearl River improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in league play with the victory, having also beaten Albertus Thursday.
"It's a great way to start," Mendelson said. "We have to keep looking ahead and look forward to TZ Monday and Tuesday."
Pearl River will play Tappan Zee at home 4 p.m. Monday, then at Tappan Zee 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Pirates took two of three from the Dutchmen on the way to winning the league title last year, but it was Tappan Zee that won the section championship.
"Absolutely. I can't wait," Mendelson said. "We beat them two out of three last year, but they won the section. Got to give them that. Hopefully, we get the best of them this year."
Pearl River 11, Albertus Magnus 4
Albertus Magnus 031 000 0 -- 4 5 4
Pearl River 007 206 X -- 11 12 0
WP: Jordan Mendelson; LP: Andrew Schweitzer