By Natalia Wiater ’16 and Ben Carlton ’16
Photo Credit: Greg Thompson of News 12
Simply reaching the semi-finals was a record for Midwood’s baseball team. Yet they didn’t stop there, and fought through all the way to the city title game, and brought a banner home to Bedford Avenue as champions.
The PSAL Baseball Final between #10 Midwood and #1 Tottenville was held at Yankee Stadium, a fitting locale for a championship. Monday, June 13, was also the last day of classes and the 7:00 pm game (though it started half an hour later) was the perfect conclusion to the school year.
Tickets were easily accessible for students as Ms. Vershleiser gave out free tickets, one per person. Many took advantage of the offer, and it wasn’t a requirement to be a fan of baseball to attend or enjoy the game; many Hornets just came to support the team and cheer on the players to victory.
“I’m not actually a huge fan of baseball but I enjoyed the game; it was really exciting since I’ve never been to a high school baseball game before,” Kizelle Patrice ’17 said. “It was really cool to see the school come together and support the team like that.”
Being the lower seed, Midwood was the away team and was the first to bat. After a leadoff walk to Gavin Brien ’16, the Tottenville pitcher continued to struggle with his command. Later in the first inning, he walked Mike Gonzalez ’16 with the bases loaded, forcing in a run.
Staked to a 1-0 lead, Greg Dorfman ’19 hopped up the steps of the dugout and onto the mound as the starting pitcher for the Hornets.
“It was very nerve wracking, but I knew what I had to do to get my team the W,” Dorfman said post-game.
Dorfman played with a level-headedness that is rarely seen in a freshman pitcher, or even a senior. The young hurler held the powerful and formerly undefeated Tottenville Pirates scoreless through his 5 and ⅓ innings pitched. Despite not allowing any runs, Dorfman found himself in trouble, notably when he loaded the bases twice. However, his composure allowed him to gut through both threats.
Even with all their trust behind Dorfman’s right arm, the Hornets couldn’t count on winning the game with a lone run. So when Gonzalez came up in the 3rd inning with runners on second and third, he knew he had a job to do. “Gonzo,” as his teammates call him, smoked the first pitch he saw into right field which scored both runners. The lead sat at 3-0 Midwood.
With one out in the 5th inning, coach Saverio Nardone made a pitching change, bringing in Tom Scarpaci ’16. The Midwood fans made sure to show their appreciation for Dorfman though, sending him off the mound with a standing ovation. Tottenville loaded the bases against Scarpaci, but he too was able to induce the double play to maintain a 3-0 lead.
With Tottenville down to their final three outs, Nardone turned to starting catcher and now closer Nick Cardieri ’17 to secure the win. Cardieri allowed two batters to reach base, but dug deep when the tying run came to the plate with two outs. Finally, Cardieri scooped up a slow grounder, flipped the ball to first baseman Peter Grabowski ’17, and the celebration was on. The players poured out of the dugout and dog-piled on the infield grass, having won the baseball championship for the first time in school history.
“Being at Yankee Stadium to watch the boys play was surreal,” Inna Zapadynska ’16 said. “It felt like we were one big family and I can’t think of a better way to end the season and to end our senior year.”
Every time the team scored, or even got on base, the Hornet fans were already standing up, raising banners, doing the wave, and cheering louder than the Tottenville fans, proving that not only was Midwood’s team better, but that its fans were too.
“It was a picture perfect ending to a great four years us seniors spent playing baseball for Midwood,” Alec McFeeley ’16 concluded.