Three times Harrison had runners on second and third in Wednesday’s game against Byram Hills, and three times the Huskies came away with nothing. The defending Class A champs had more scoring opportunities than the Bobcats, but Byram seems to have a knack for escaping trouble.
“We’ve found a way to do that all year – especially John (Norrgard),” Byram senior Jared Feldman said. “He’s been bases loaded with no outs and found a way to get out of it. He’s overpowering at times, which really helps, but that’s been a thing for us all year. We’re able to keep our composure there.”
Harrison’s inability to come up with the big hit was certainly an issue today, but it was the grittiness of this Bobcats team in their 4-2 win that really stood out to me. They’re not a flashy bunch, but they battled through adversity time and time again.
“Even though they scored a couple of runs (in the first inning), we didn’t want to let down,” junior right fielder Jacob Nivasch said. “We’re a team throughout the year that has bounced back in many games, and this was just one of those games where it was a fight.”
• Norrgard (pictured to the right) got off to a rough start, and it didn’t look like he would last long. Austin Pollack led off with a double in the left-center field gap, advanced to third on an error, and then scored on a groundball to the right side from Matt Baker. Tyler Hart followed with a single, Vinnie Nicita was walked, and both runners advanced on a passed ball. Jake Zuckman drove Hart home on a fielder’s choice, and then advanced to third on Drew Estes’ double. Zuckman stumbled a bit while rounding third, which prevented him from scoring, and then Norrgard induced two shallow fly outs to keep it at 2-0. It wasn’t a great start for Byram, but it could have definitely been worse. “At first my breaking ball wasn’t work as well, so I just stuck with the fastball,” Norrgard said. “They jumped on it… but we fought back.”
• The Huskies would put runners on second and third on two other occasions, but failed to plate a run in both instances. They were in the same situation in the fifth with one out—Norrgard’s final inning of work—but he worked a pop-up and a groundout to second to get out unscathed. In total, Harrison left left 10 runners on base. “We just had our opportunities and we cant get guys in. Bottom line, we didn’t get it done,” Harrison coach Marco DiRuocco said. “You’re not going to win a game with two runs.”
• Despite throwing 31 pitches in a dragged out first inning, Norrgard battled to give Byram five innings and earn the win. His final line was: 5 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 96 pitches (49 strikes, 47 balls). Certainly not the most dominant performance that I’ve seen, but it was effective.
• While Norrgard managed to put up zeros after the first, the Bobcats started chipping away. They didn’t tear the cover off of the ball, but they showed the ability to score in a variety of ways. Brian Skelly bunted for a hit, and Kevin Wietsma laid down a sac bunt to move him over. Later in the inning, Nivasch cut the deficit to 2-1 with a run-scoring hit. “The whole time I was thinking, ‘Alright, I have to drive this guy in. I have to do what it takes to get the runner in,’ ” Nivasch said. “I was thinking small the whole time – nothing too big. At the same time, you know there’s a lot going on with a guy on second. You just have to stay composed throughout the at-bat, and it paid off.”
• Michael Beresford tied it with a sac fly in the fourth, and then Skelly laid down a bunt to score the go-ahead run on a suicide squeeze (he’s an awfully good bunter). It was well executed, but I was surprised to see the runner on second— Justin Drossman —make the turn around third and head home. He was gunned down to end the inning, but the damage had been done, and Byram had a 3-2 lead. That’s two days in a row that I’ve covered a game in which a suicide squeeze attempt may have been the biggest play of the game. “That’s our team’s favorite play,” Feldman said. “I love that. It’s really good for the team and gets us really pumped up, especially when we execute it with two runs. It’s just a great play. It gets everyone involved, and it’s selfless. That’s Byram Hills baseball.”
• Jack Hatheway (pictured to the left) added an RBI single in the fifth to extend the lead to 4-2, and that would prove to be plenty for the Bobcats. The Huskies probably have the more powerful lineup of the two teams—they had four extra-base hits, compared to none for Byram—but they just couldn’t find ways to score. The Bobcats’ small ball approach proved to be superior today. “Absolutely, and we’ve done it,” DiRuocco said when I asked about his team’s ability to put up runs. “We had 17 hits against Pprt Chester and Greeley. We’re more than capable, and we’ve got guys who can produce, it’s just who’s going to step up?”
• Harrison has had some pitching issues at times this year, but RHP JD Barnett gave the Huskies a pretty encouraging outing today. He was more efficient than Norrgard, finishing with a final line of: 6 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 86 pitches (55 strikes, 31 balls). “It’s great to see some juniors step up,” DiRuocco said. “JD had a great outing today, Matt Baker has been pitching well, so those are two juniors that we are building up for next year.”
• This win was especially satisfying for Byram because it came against the team that prevented them from winning a section title last season. The Bobcats lost in extra innings to Harrison in the Class A final, and finally got a measure of revenge nearly a year later. “From the day the schedule came out, this is the one that I circled on my calendar,” Feldman said. “This was a big game for us. It was really personal.”
• Feldman was a big part of that team that reached the section title game, and I asked him how this team stacks up. They don’t have as much power in the lineup, and they don’t have a true ace like they did last season with Andrew Slosberg, but they are one scrappy bunch. Coach Scott Saunders knows how to push the right buttons. We have a lot of different guys who pitch. We have a lot of depth this year. I mean, I didn’t even start pitching at the beginning of the year, and now I’m pitching. I think that’s key for us,” Feldman said. “We can all hit which is good, we can all do the little things, and our defense has been really good lately. Those are keys for the playoffs, and we have all of them right now.”
Here are the rest of the scores that we’ve received so far tonight:
North Rockland 6, Suffern 2: At North Rockland Tuesday, Jariel Burgos went 2 for 4 with a run scored and drove in two for the Red Raiders. Brandon Respress scored three times. Jacob Defilice went 2 for 4 with a run scored for the Mounties.
Croton-Harmon 7, Ossining 4: At Ossining Tuesday, Izaak Cohen had three RBI off of 2 for 4 hitting with a run scored. Chris Dreier had two RBI and Brandon Glover had one. Mitchell Radhuber went 2 for 3 with two RBI and Sean Trnholm a RBI for the Pride.
Haldane 8, Poughkeepsie 1: At Poughkeepsie Tuesday, Kenny Doxey had a double and three RBI. John Rotando went 3 for 4 with a double, a triple, and an RBI. In six innings, he allowed one run, four hits and he struck out four to get the win.
Pelham 9, Edgemont 8: At Edgemont Tuesday, Greg Seigelbaum had two RBI and a double. Michael Murray, Spike Manning and Anthony Manos each had a RBI. Dylan Levine had three RBI for the Panthers.
Port Chester 12, Harrison 9: At Harrison Tuesday, Kyle Drummond and Mike Iantorno each had two RBI and a double. Trevor Chambless added two RBI. Austin Pollack had two RBI and two doubles for the Huskies.Matt Baker had two RBI, a double and a triple.
White Plains 9, Keio 4: At White Plains Tuesday, Cameron Crabbe had a home run and two RBI. Sean Nicholson, Kevin Nicholson, Chris Medeot and Kyle Adams each had an RBI for the Tigers. Yuta Ishii had two hits and an RBI for the Unicorns.
Kennedy 7, Arlington 6: At Arlington Tuesday, Jason Agresti went 2 for 3 with two RBI and a double. Joe Drpich went 2 for 4 with two RBI and a double. Griifen Dey went 3 for 4 with a RBI and a double. Matt Kern went 2 for 4 with a RBI.
Nyack 8, Nanuet 6: At Nanuet Tuesday, Winning pitcher Austin Cavazzi had a triple and an RBI. Teammate Rob Visonti had a two run double. Matt Flannery, Brandon Stathy and Nick O’Connor each had two hits and an RBI.
Fordham 4, Iona Prep 3, 9: At Fordham Tuesday, Matt Henry had two RBI. Vinny Martin had an RBI for the Gaels.
Lakeland 6, Panas 5: At Lakeland Tuesday, Andrew Martinez was 3 for 3 with a home run and three RBI. Kevin Lynch earned the win with five hits allowed and three strikeouts. Brian Holderman had two hits and two runs for the Panthers.
Suffern 14, East Ramapo 3: At Spring Valley, Gabe Cohen went 2 for 3, both hits were three-run home runs. John Saviano went 2 for 4 with a solo home run, and a double. Kenny Petances and Karl Stewart each had a solo home run for the Titans.
Pelham 4, Yonkers 3: At Yonkers, in the top of the seventh with one out, the Pelicans had bases loaded Michael Murray got on base via a ground out to second and Greg Singelbaum scored the go-ahead run. Ray Schmahl had double and came around to score in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie it up for the Bulldogs.
Hackley 2, Trinity 0: At Trinity, Austin Disher pitched a two-hitter shoutout with seven strikeouts. Robert Scherl had a RBI.
Pleasantville 9, Croton-Harmon 2: At Croton-Harmon, Drew Marino went 2 for 2 with a sac fly, a walk, and five RBI. Steven Sicignano drove in two runs. Izaak Cohen went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI for the Tigers.
Keio 4, Blind Brook 0: At Keio, Kenta Nishiyama pitched a three-hitter, allowing two walks, and struck out four facing 25 batters to take the win. Riku Kawada drove in a run. Eric Handelman allowed an earned run, four hits, and two walks in six innings and struck out four for the Trojans in the loss.
Yorktown 3, Lakeland 1: At Yorktown, Frank Frusco pitched a complete game giving one earned run with eight strikeouts. Joe Pietropaulo had two RBI and Ricky Corrado went 2 for 3 with a RBI.
Fox Lane 13, Rye 6: At Fox Lane, Anthony Shkrelja went 2 for 4 with a home run and four RBI for the Foxes. Richard Slenker went 3 for 4 with a double, a home run, and three RBI. Brendan Tripodi had a three-run home run for the Garnets.
Horace Greeley 5, Port Chester 1: At Horace Greeley, Paul Gadaleta pitch a complete game giving up one run with eight strikeouts. Harris Miller had two RBI. Dan D’Auria, Risten Clarke and Jon Renzulli each had a RBI. Jose Gonzalez had a RBI for the Rams.
Beacon 9, Hen Hud 3: At Beacon, Tony Romanelli struck out 11 and allowed one earned run over six innings for the win. Patrick Schetter went 2 for 4 with a stolen base, runs scored, two RBI and a homer. Andrew Grella went 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Rick Tocco went 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI for the Sailors.
Sleepy Hollow 2, Dobbs Ferry 0: At Dobbs Ferry, winning pitcher Alec Stoll tossed a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts. Peter Pena doubled and had an RBI and Inmer Rosado had an RBI.
John Jay 5, Carmel 1: At John Jay, Sam Mines pitched a five-hitter. Alec Brown went 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored and two RBI. Jack Weiller went 2 for 3 with a stolen base, a triple and two runs scored. Nick Roell had two hits for the Rams.
Rye Neck 4, Valhalla 1: At Valhalla, Matt Franks pitched a five-hitter and struck out six. He also hit a two-run homer. Matt Garcia had two hits and a run scored. Louis Ingrassi stuck out 10 in a complete game for the Vikings.
Albertus Magnus 5, Pearl River 3: At Albertus Magnus, Andrew Schweitzer pitched five innings for the win. Robert Ottaviano drove in two runs for the Falcons. Connor O’Castle had two hits for Pearl River. Mike Murphy, took the loss, allowing two earned runs over six innings.
Westlake 2, Ossining 0: At Westlake, Michael Cerrato struck out five in a complete game effort for the win. Michael McLynn and Anthony Rotunno each had an RBI. Kevin Haag pitched a one-hitter and had three hits for the Pride.
Ketcham 12, Arlington 6
Photos by Frank Becerra, Jr./The Journal News