With his team struggling to adjust to wood bats, Bayside Yankees coach Ryan Nevins realized the importance of aggressive base running in a doubleheader against the Long Island Cardinals last Thursday at Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y.
So in what seemed like a reoccurring case of déjà vu, each time a Senior National player walked, off they went stealing second, sometimes third and even once home for a total of nine stolen bases.
But Cardinals catcher Josh Charry put an end to the merry-go-round in the bottom of the sixth inning, throwing out a pair of Yankees to secure Long Islands 6-4 win and a split of the twin bill.
The Yankees rallied to win the opener, 5-4, in eight innings on Mike Wanamakers RBI-single to right field, scoring speedy Keith Fier, who singled to center, stole second and reached third on a passed ball.
I just saw it, reacted and luckily I made good throws, said Charry, who also had his first hit of the season, slapping a single to left field in the fourth inning.
Charrys throws proved to be critical in the nightcap because after he nailed Ariel Martin at third base, the umpires called the game due to darkness after five and a half innings.
I dont know why were not playing, said a perplexed Nevins.
The main question would have been, would we have had enough light to play a seventh inning? said Cardinals coach Ian Millman. I dont believe there would have been enough light to complete seven full innings.
Cardinals pitcher Anthony Smith had anything but his best stuff, giving up four runs on four hits while walking six. But the George Washington-bound lefty helped out his own cause with a huge two-run triple to right field off Yankees reliever Travis Judd in the fifth inning to put the Cards in front, 5-4.
Smith added an insurance run on a wild pitch, one of four thrown by Judd, who replaced starter Rich Moran (three runs on six hits, seven strikeouts and two walks) in the fifth inning.
The Cardinals (9-5, 7-3 National Junior Baseball League) led 3-1 after four innings, but Bayside (7-9, 6-4) manufactured three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead. In the inning, Martin scored on Danny Pirillos ground out to second, Fier came home on a wild pitch and Brian Mason scored on a delayed double steal.
We have to start swinging the bats more; were swinging the bats very poorly, said Nevins, a former standout at Holy Cross and New York Tech. The offense has to produce more.
Phil Marchese reached on a one-out walk in the sixth inning for Bayside, but the leftfielder from Susan Wagner was gunned down by Charry.
Martin then singled to center and stole second, and Pirillo also walked, but Martin, attempting to steal third to end the game, was thrown out by Charry.
They certainly came to run today and we didnt help our cause by allowing them to do so. But we had no idea the game was going to be called so Joshs throws were unbelievably timely, Millman said. Our guys scoring some runs when they did instead of waiting late certainly put us in the position to win the game.
The Cardinals erased a 3-1 deficit in the first game and took a 4-3 lead with a three-run fifth inning, capped by Frank Terzos two-run single up the middle.
But with two out in the seventh inning, Bayside tied the game at 4 when Pirillo scored from second on a wild pitch by closer Brian Honeyman.
Fier singled to center to lead off the eighth inning and immediately stole second and reached third on a passed ball.
Honeyman intentionally walked Mason and Matt Acevedo, who belted a two-run home run in the third inning to load the bases before Wanamaker ended the game with an RBI-single for the Yankees, who lost six of their last seven games before the doubleheader.
I didnt get that good of a jump, but the catcher doesnt have a really good arm. Ill do anything to get on base and to get into scoring position, said Fier, who stole five bases in the doubleheader. Once I got on second I knew we were going to win the game.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2003 Community News Group
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