By Isabela Aznar
It is safe to say that Randolph and SLA are rivals on the baseball field.
“We lost to this team 3 times before (stretching back since the 2010 season)” Said Coach Doug Herman on the bus ride to the field. “If we win this game, we make our chances of making it into the play offs go up.”
On April 10th, The Rockets had their annual match against Randolph. All the boys on the bus listened intently as Mr. Herman gave his traditional speech that he gives before every game on the bus ride over to the field.
As well as the traditional pep talk on the bus from Coach Herman, He carries a tradition with the team of finishing a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato) Sandwich before the beginning of every game for good luck,
As soon as The SLA Rockets arrived at the field, Senior and Team Captain Ian Mcclendon led them through a quick and thorough conditioning.
And then continued on with Coach Herman to talk to the refs.
“Baseball is a game the of inches,” McClendon said, referring to the fact that precision and timing is everything in the game, you have to stay focused and play close attention to everything that’s happening.
“Mental lapses and timely errors on our part have always led to their wins, but not this time” Coach Herman stated, referring to Randolph’s winning streak against SLA.
Based on this year’s game, however, the team was on point and completely aware of what was going on.
“Baseball has taught me how to work hard,” right fielder and Senior Blasé Biello said. “Especially going from bench warmer to assistant captain.”
The team tied together very nicely, and exemplified great teamwork together; always supporting each other, giving each other pep talks, and keeping focus on the game.
“I’d say that the biggest moments of the game were our five run 3rd inning and holding them to just one run in the 5th when it was 8-3,” said Coach Herman. “We held the momentum as a result and broke it open in the bottom of the 5th inning to push it to 14-4 and winning by Mercy Rule,” which involves having a 10 run lead after 5 innings.
The team was proud and exauhsted coming back on the bus to SLA.
“We had a strong offense,” First baseman and senior Thomas Nicolella said about their performance. The entire team was proud after they had their well deserved victory.
Game Highlights by Coach Herman
Bottom of 3rd (SLA)
Ian McClendon (Batting 3rd and playing Center Field) bombed one to left for a triple scoring Stephen White (2 hitter and Short Stop).
Jeffrey Schwartz (4th and playing Catcher) stole and was scored on a hit and run play when Abe Musselman (5th and in Left Field) smacked one down the third base line.
Still no outs, but Randolph’s 2011 All-Star Pitcher Justo Rodriguez finally induced Raekwon Smith (6th and 3B) to pop up to Short, and TJ Nicolella ( 7th and 1st base) to line out to 1st.
SLA tacked on one more when Jhonas Dunakin (8th and 2B) looped a single to center, stole second and third and then scored when the umpire called Rodriguez for a Balk (a Balk is when the pitcher “deceives” the runner instead of pitching to the batter).
SLA scored 5 runs on 5 hits with 3 Stolen Bases.
Top of 5th (Randolph)
I sent Jeff back out for another inning to “get one out” since he threw a lot of pitches in the third. He walked the first batter, then hit the second so I pulled him and gave Allen Harmon his first relief appearance of the year. The kid has gas, can change speeds and is developing a curve.
We had a 4 run lead, but they had the bases loaded.
Allen Harmon landed a solid strike against one of Randolph’s hottest hitters on the first pitch, and struck him out swinging three pitches later.
In a quick and dramatic fashion Allen dispensed with there clean up hitter on three pitches to get out of the jam.
The team mobbed him in the dugout. I know from personal experience that it is something that he will remember for the rest of his life.