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The Section 1 baseball finals are set after the semifinals on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
Wochit

With all four Section 1 baseball finals scheduled for Saturday at Dutchess Stadium, Journal News/lohud beat writer Vin Mercogliano breaks down each matchup and offers his predictions. 

PODCAST: Vin previews the Section 1 finals and suggests for the playoff format

SCHEDULE: For the entire Section 1 tournament

Class AA final

No. 5 White Plains (16-7) vs. No. 10 Arlington (14-8)

When: Saturday at 7 p.m.

Where: Dutchess Stadium

Projected pitchers: LHP Gehrig Hauser (White Plains) vs. RHP Matt McGowan (Arlington)

Key players: WP — Matt Dorchak, Jr., C; Spencer Lodes, Jr., 1B; Damian Vignone, Sr., 3B. Arl — Linwood Burke, Sr., 2B; C.J. Light, Sr., OF; Austin Zakow, Sr., C.

Previous meeting(s): Arlington won 4-3 in eight innings on May 11

Outlook: Who had this matchup picked for the finals? I sure didn’t. In fact, in my pre-tournament predictions, I had both teams losing in the first round. That should tell you two things — these playoffs have been crazy and I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Still, I’ll take a crack at breaking this one down. … Both of these teams really had to seriously earn their way into the title game. The Tigers started with Horace Greeley and its highly coveted ace Brandon Neeck, and they managed to pull out a 3-0 win. They followed that up with wins over Suffern and Mahopac, winning three playoff games by a combined score of 18-1. The bats have gotten hot, but the key has been the pitching. Junior Mike Attonito has thrown two shutouts, while senior Gehrig Hauser limited a potent Suffern offense to one run. Hauser will likely start the final on three days’ rest, but he kept his pitch count at a manageable 87 on Tuesday. … The Admirals’ most consistent pitcher has been Kevin Besko, but he threw 90 pitches in Wednesday’s semifinal win over Scarsdale. He won’t be available to start, which means Arlington will turn to either Matt McGowan or Rob Fratarcangeli. I’m guessing McGowan will start because he was more effective in the quarterfinals, but the leash will be short. … Even though White Plains lost its regular-season finale to the Admirals, the game was close enough to give the Tigers confidence that they can reverse the result. And since beating Neeck in the first round, they’re playing with a lot of momentum and clicking on all cylinders. Coach Marcel Galligani has built a winning program and should have his guys ready for this one.

Coach speak: “(Arlington) is a ballclub that’s fundamentally sound, they pitch, they pick up the ball regularly and they’ve got guys in the lineup who can swing the bat. I’m anticipating a really good ballgame – a close ballgame – and it’s ultimately going to come down to the team that executes best.” — White Plains coach Marcel Galligani

Prediction: White Plains 4, Arlington 3

Class A final

No. 1 Pearl River (19-4) vs. No. 14 Nyack (13-10-1)

When: Saturday at 4 p.m.

Where: Dutchess Stadium

Projected pitchers: RHP Kevin Scrima (Pearl River) vs. LHP Michael Pavelchak (Nyack)

Key players: PR — Sean Flaherty, Jr., C; Steve Kinnally, Sr., OF; Dolan Ocasal, Sr., SS. Ny — Nick Cassano, Jr., SS; Dalton Feely, Sr., OF; Ryan Weiss, Sr., 1B.

Previous meeting(s): Pearl River swept the season series, 2-1 and 12-0

Outlook: There were plenty of reasons to believe that the Pirates would reach this point, but it’s the Indians who have come out of nowhere. They started the season 0-7-1, including getting swept by Pearl River in league play, but have come on very strong with wins in 13 of their last 16. There was always the belief that Nyack had the talent to compete, it just took a little while for everything to come together. … The Pirates were undoubtedly the most complete team in Class A during the regular season. They have a trio of quality pitchers in Kevin Scrima, Chris Sabino and Joe Sassano and a lineup that blends power and speed. Coach Mike Oliva recognized the potential of this group when they were underclassmen and promoted some to varsity, and now we’re seeing that exposure pay dividends. … The best guess is that Scrima will get the start on short rest after throwing 100 pitches in Tuesday’s quarterfinal win over Byram Hills. Sassano and Sabino both pitched on Wednesday, but each was capped around 60 pitches, so they’ll be available out of the bullpen. … Nyack’s ace is Tommy Muratore, who threw 84 pitches in Wednesday’s semifinal win over Harrison. Next in line are juniors Michael Pavelchak and Tony Poveda, who will probably get the first cracks at the Pearl River lineup, but don’t be surprised to see Muratore for an inning or two. … Rivalry games are the most difficult to predict because the teams know each other so well, which gives Nyack a real shot. But in terms of overall depth and consistency, it would be hard to bet against the Pirates.

Coach speak: “We need to play our game and execute to beat Pearl River. They’re a strong team, but so are we. It should be an exciting game. We’re really looking forward to competing Saturday.” — Nyack coach Joe De Palma

Prediction: Pearl River 6, Nyack 4

Class B final

No. 2 Edgemont (16-6) vs. No. 5 Albertus Magnus (14-8)

When: Saturday at 1 p.m.

Where: Dutchess Stadium

Projected pitchers: RHP Krishan Weber (Edgemont) vs. RHP Joe Ottaviano (Albertus Magnus)

Key players: Edge — Edmund Chu, Sr., SS; Drew DiSerio, Sr., 1B; David Garvelink, Sr. OF. AM — Chris Cooney, Sr., 2B; Stephen Greeley, Sr., C; Jake Rivera, Sr., OF.

Previous meeting(s): None

Outlook: Now that heavy favorite Briarcliff has been ousted, Class B looks like a toss-up. The Panthers have a senior-laden roster that has been building for a year like this, while the Falcons will be going for their second title in three years. There are only a few players left who were on that 2015 championship team, but a winning tradition has been established. … Edgemont appears to have the advantage with the pitching matchup. They threw ace Krishan Weber in the quarterfinals on Tuesday for a complete game and 98 pitches, and even though it’s only three days of rest, the rules allow him to pitch a full game again on Saturday. With a championship on the line, I’m sure he’ll be asking for the ball. … Albertus threw ace Mike Dunne for 74 pitches on Wednesday in the semis, which makes it doubtful that he will start. Joe Ottaviano is the Falcons’ No. 2 pitcher and he went up to 118 pitches on Tuesday, so I’m expecting coach Dan Freeman to mix and match. Sean Clifford and Michael Accurso could also be used. … It might not be wise to pick against Weber, but I have a good feeling about this Albertus team. They’ve been through an absolute grind in these playoffs, including a quarterfinal win over defending champ Keio, and the bats are producing at a great pace.

Coach speak: “Our pitchers have to keep their hitters off balance. Throw any pitch in any count with confidence. Play sound defense and keep the crooked numbers off their side of the scoreboard. Keep battling at the plate and make their pitcher work for all 21 outs.” — Edgemont coach Mike Cozza

Prediction: Albertus Magnus 3, Edgemont 2

Class C final

No. 1 Tuckahoe (17-4) vs. No. 2 North Salem (13-6)

When: Saturday at 10 a.m.

Where: Dutchess Stadium

Projected pitchers: LHP Anthony DeFabbia (Tuckahoe) vs. LHP Connor Mahoney (North Salem)

Key players: Tuck — Lino Poli, Jr., SS; James Rockhill, Sr., OF; Ryan Rockhill, Jr., C. NS — Adam Concadoro, Sr., SS; Jesse Fleming, Sr., OF; J.B. Healy, Sr., 2B.

Previous meeting(s): None

Outlook: This rematch of last year’s championship is worth getting to the ballpark early for. North Salem won 9-4 last season on its way to a state championship, and the winning team here will once again be a legitimate state title contender. North Salem has the majority of its starting lineup back from 2016, but the same can be said for Tuckahoe. These are two experienced teams who remember each other well, which is why it has the makings of a classic game. … Another reason is because both teams have their aces rested and ready to go. That’s the advantage of getting the top two seeds in Class C, which features only six teams. Connor Mahoney is a seasoned senior who started some huge games last season and has been racking up strikeouts, while Anthony DeFabbia is only a freshman. But Tuckahoe’s young lefty has pitched to a 2.10 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings, so he has the ability to hang with a pitcher of Mahoney’s caliber. … Even though Tuckahoe is experienced, it still has quite a few underclassmen who are playing prominent roles. North Salem is loaded with seniors who know what it takes to win. They’ll be ultra-motivated to go out on top, while Tuckahoe may still be a year away from having its moment in the sun.

Coach speak: “The key is keeping the approach we’ve had all year. Rely on our defense, pitching, but more importantly, rely on our experience.” — North Salem coach Rob Gilchrist

Prediction: North Salem 4, Tuckahoe 2

Twitter: @vzmercogliano