Baseball Team Sweep Gators, Start Off League Play Strong

3 mins read

Photos by John Diepenbrock

On Friday afternoon, the Bears beat the Sacred Heart Prep Gators in the second of their two-game set 4-2, after a dominant 11-2 victory at home on Wednesday. 

The Bears got going early, when a leadoff single from senior outfielder Rowan Kelly, a bunt from junior shortstop Will Roberts, and a single from junior designated hitter Jack Molise gave M-A an early opportunity with runners in scoring position. Senior catcher Trevor Heinz drove in the first run of the game, as a bunt back to the pitcher wasn’t in time at home, with Rowan Kelly sliding in under the tag. 

Bears sophomore second baseman Ryder Kelly singled to load the bases, and after a strikeout from junior outfielder David Lopez, senior first baseman Adam Chane went to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. On a 3-1 count, the Gator’s pitcher missed the strike zone, but the home plate umpire lost track of the count calling it ball three. A crowd of unhappy Bears fans yelled “Ball Four,” and the call was eventually overturned with the help of the scorekeeper, resulting in a walk and an RBI for Chane to put the Bears ahead 2-0 in the top of the first. 

On the hill for M-A was senior pitcher Harrison Long. Long worked through a leadoff walk to leave a runner on base, with an outstanding play from junior third baseman Ronan Cutright and two strikeouts. 

In the third inning, Rowan Kelly put on a base-running clinic, taking his second stolen base following his single and scoring on a routine Roberts’ grounder to second base as he caught the defense off-guard on his scamper home for M-A’s third run of the game. 

Rowan Kelly celebrates

Rowan Kelly said, “I think baserunning is a huge part of the game—that’s how you get a lot of extra runs. I was already stealing third, so as soon as the ball was hit, there was one out so I knew I was going to keep on moving. I knew I was quicker than their second baseman and first baseman, so as soon as I saw them hit it to second base, I booked it home and slid in safe.”

Long’s second inning was another quick one, once again stranding one runner and adding two more strikeouts on his way. 

M-A’s third-inning ups started off abnormally when an errant lacrosse ball entered the field of play during an in-progress pitch that Heinz drove into left field for a hit. Yet, the umpire claimed that time was called, even though the ball didn’t interfere with the game, leading to Heinz’s strikeout to end the at-bat. Ryder Kelly then crushed a triple over the head of the Sacred Heart center fielder, but was cut down on a squeeze bunt at home to hold the Bears scoreless. 

In the third and fourth innings, things began to go awry for Long, as a few errors on throws to first base derailed his stellar day. One run crossed the plate in each inning, and Sacred Heart closed in to make it 3-2. M-A then brought in sophomore pitcher Wes Peterson in a two-out and two on-spot in the fourth. Peterson induced a ground ball to second base to end the inning and keep the Gators at bay.

Peterson shoots an imaginary gun after save

In the bottom of the fifth, Peterson started strong as he struck out the first two Gators he faced with his impressive fastball. He then let up an infield single, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases with two outs. With the whole crowd holding their breath on a 3-2 count, Peterson delivered again with a called strike right down the middle to leave them loaded. 

Peterson said about his clutch outing, “Honestly, it’s really simple. Just deep breaths and throw strikes, there’s nothing more to it.”

In the seventh inning, Rowan Kelly mashed a 3-2 hanger over the scoreboard in right field for his second home run of the season, padding the Bears lead at 4-2. 

Rowan Kelly homers to right

Rowan Kelly said, “He hung a changeup in a 3-2 count. I battled after going down two strikes early, to a 3-2 count, got the pitch I needed, and didn’t miss it.”

Peterson proceeded to close out the game, notching a three and a third-inning save, his second of the season on an electric swinging strike three. The Bears ended with 4-2 win. 

M-A’s manager Jordan Paroubeck praised the game’s star players, saying, “Rowan’s very consistent, and when he goes, we go. When you get a sophomore like Wes who can step up and finish a game that’s huge, we need that. I put him in some other big situations early in the year, and he always handles it with composure. He’s a pretty special player.”

The Bears move to 7-4 on the season and 2-0 in league play with the three-game win streak, and they will take on Capuchino on Wednesday afternoon in the first of that two-game set.

Sam Leslie is a senior at M-A and is in his second year of journalism. As a sports editor, he both reports on games and helps oversee the Chronicle's sports reporting. He also has done extensive reporting on Detracking and other equity issues. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, watching sports, and listening to music.

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