By Jesse Grossman ‘15
A season that began with championship aspirations ended last month as the division champion Varsity Baseball team fell in the second round of the playoffs to Grand Street Campus.
“We are a bunch of guys who like to go out and compete. We are a scrappy team that is a force to be reckon with,” said pitcher Austin Cordero ’14.
The regular season saw the Hornets achieve their division championship with a record of 14 wins and 2 losses. The division consists of other tough teams such as Grand Street and James Madison High School.
The Hornets easily handled Millennium High School with an 8-3 rout behind six and two third innings of consistent pitching from Cordero. First baseman Michael Scolavino ’14 and outfielder Robert Feldman ’14 each chipped in by driving in two runs each to supply all of the necessary offense for the Hornets.
“We knew we were the better team and knew if we played well, we would win,” said shortstop Milo Sklar ’14. The win in the first round set up a quarterfinal bout the Grand Street Campus Tigers. A rivalry has developed recently against the Tigers with the teams split- ting their two regular season games. Mid- wood was ranked 8th in the play- offs and Grand Street ninth. The stage was set for a rather epic matchup.
“Our mentality was word hark and win the game,” said third base- man Michael
Taormina ‘15. “It was the approach we had to every game no matter who we played.”
The Tigers struck first scoring two runs in the top of the first inning off of starting pitcher Roy Wagner ’16. Wagner appeared nervous walking five batters in three in- nings. However, the Hornets responded with a run by string- ing together hits from Sklar, Michael Taormina ‘15, and Feld- man-the heart of the batting order- to bring the score to 2-1.
The third inning saw both teams make dras- tic offensive pushes. In the top half, the Tigers hit a two- run home run that barely stayed in fair territory to bring the score to 4-1. However, the middle of the order came through again for the Hornets and catcher Nick Cardieri ’17 knocked in two runs with a double to bring the score to 4-3.
As each team came out for the fourth inning, new pitchers were brought in on both sides. The Hornets moved Sklar from shortstop to pitcher and the Tigers brought in Alexander Cuas, a player who is known as one of the top pitchers in the city. However, the Hornets responded well by load- ing the bases and outfielder Cody Putterman ’14 drew a walk knotting the score up at four. The Tigers came back and scored a run in the next inning and then Mi-
chael Taormina ’15 drove in Sklar who had just tripled. PSAL baseball games are scheduled to last sev- en innings, however, with the score locked at 5-5, the game moved into extra innings. In the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, the Hornets were able to get runners on includ- ing chances with the winning run 90 feet away at third twice, but were not able to score and the game went on. As darkness and a forecast for rain loomed over the field, the Hornets trotted out for the top of the eleventh in- ning and the coaches and umpires gathered. A decision was made at that point to postpone the game to the next morning. The second day of baseball unfortunately saw the Hor- nets’ season slowly slip away. After a walk in the twelfth inning, the runner stole second base and a questionable call left the runner on in- stead of putting the Hor- nets in a position to get out of the inning unscathed. After a run- scoring single, Grand Street had the lead for good. “We had so many chances to win the game and we didn’t take advantage of them,” said second baseman Brandon Eng ’14. “We were one hit away from winning on multiple occasions and didn’t get the job done.” Although the Hornets did not go as far as hoped in the play- offs, the season had great successes including wins at the Staten Island Yankees’ stadium as well as the Brooklyn Cyclones’ stadium. Sklar, Eng, Feldman, and Taormina were all among the city leaders in hits and batting average. Ten members of the team were seniors and had been working together since their freshmen year. Scolavino, Sk- lar, Cordero will be playing next year in college while the other seniors will look to walk on at their respective schools. Next year’s team will have to make up for the lack of veterans and use their experience in this year’s playoffs to their advantage. “I think we have a couple of spots to fill which is go- ing to be tough,” said Taormina. “But I think we are going to have guys really break out next year and we are going to have to work hard if we want to compete with the best in the city.”