Henry Davis and Brandon Neeck made a friendly wager entering Thursday’s highly-anticipated showdown of Section 1’s top two players. The two close friends on rival programs — Davis, the Fox Lane catcher, and Neeck, Greeley’s ace left-hander — challenged each other in their head-to-head matchups.
Neeck wins with a K. Davis wins with anything better than a double.
The bet turned out to be a wash after Thursday’s showdown — but Davis got a sligh edge as the Foxes came away with a league championship-clinching win.
Before over 15 MLB scouts crowded behind home plate, the University of Virginia-bound Neeck struck out Davis in the first inning before the Louisville-bound Davis counted with a solo homer in the fourth, propelling Fox Lane to a 6-1 victory.
“Brandon is the best pitcher in the section,” Davis said. “He got me the first time. Hitting that home run felt good.”
Davis’ home run in the Bottom of the 4th tied the game at 1-1 before Justin Reeves put Fox Lane ahead later in the inning with a two-out RBI single. Neeck left after the fifth inning and 82 pitches, allowing four hits and striking out eight.
Matt Lichtenberger was terrific for Fox Lane. The starting pitcher lasted six-plus innings, allowing only a first-inning run on a Nat Jbari RBI double. Lichtenberger allowed four hits for the win.
“It feels great to be undefeated league champs for the second year in a row,” Davis said.
Neeck, who hadn’t pitched in two weeks, had his slider working in the first three innings as he set Fox Lane down with ease. He got Davis to chase on a slider in the first for the strikeout but went deep into the count against him in the sixth.
Davis turned on the seventh pitch of the at-bat and smoked a line drive over the fence in left.
“Once I got to six pitches I thought there was no way I was losing this at-bat,” Davis said. “I just beared down and fought even harder.”
It was the sixth home run of the season in 34 at-bats for Davis, who is now hitting .500 (17 for 34) with 23 RBI. He also threw out a pair of potential base-stealers in the win.
Thomas O’Sullivan delivered a two-run triple, and Ethan Gabor and Marvin Pineda each had RBI singles in a four-run sixth inning to break the game open.
Fox Lane improved to 10-2 on the season but has another showdown today with Ketcham, which is the No. 1 ranked team in the latest Section 1 Baseball Bracketology standings on KDJMedia.com
The Foxes also have games remaining with powers North Rockland, Mamaroneck, Carmel, White Plains, John Jay-EF and Arlington.
Horace Greeley dropped to 1-11 and is in danger of missing out on the Section 1 playoffs. They potentially need to win four of their final nine games to qualify.