On a beautiful Saturday afternoon on Jeff Adams Field, the baseball team overcame a slow start to surge past Fordham Prep in a 5-2 win.
The morning began inauspiciously as the first three Rams batters reached safely on an error, a walk, and a single as the visitors grabbed a quick 1-0 lead. Jojo Franco shook off the rough start and came back with a strikeout, a fly out (which scored a second run), and a strikeout to limit the damage. The Bears put two men on in the bottom of the inning, but failed to carve into their deficit.
Franco began the second frame by hitting the batter, but responded with a pair of strikeouts and a pop up to second as he began to find his rhythm. The Bear offense awoke in the bottom of the inning, surging to a lead they would not relinquish. Sebastian Perez started with a walk before Logan Charboneau roped a two-strike single to left field. Following a pop up, Jayden Stroman stroked a ball into centerfield in a 3-2 count to plate Perez. On the same play, the Rams made a throwing error trying to nab Charboneau at third, and the eighth-grader came around to tie the game at 2-2.
Lee Santiago followed by reaching base on an E4 and Justin Porrino followed with a line drive to left field to send Stroman home with the lead. The play was far from over once Stroman crossed home plate as the always-heady Porrino intentionally got himself hung up between first and second. Standing dead stopped between the bags, the senior beckoned the Rams to chase him into a rundown and he succeeded in occupying them long enough to allow Santiago to charge home with another run. Adding further insult to injury, Porrino managed to get back to first base safely. The Bears would get no more in the 2nd, but the damage had already been done in the four-run inning.
The Rams opened the 3rd inning with a single, but Franco induced a pop up and fielder’s choice to record two quick outs. Another single followed, but Tyler Smith erased a runner attempting to steal second to end the inning. The Bears went down in order in the bottom half. In the 4th, Franco continued to look stronger as the game wore on, working around one-out HBP to put another zero on the board. After the Bears went scoreless in their offensive half, Aaron Babaev stole a hit away from the leadoff hitter with a diving snag in left. A single and a flyout followed before a walk spelled the end of Franco’s day. Santiago came on in relief and induced a line out to Franco at second, who was fittingly able to complete his final inning after all.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Bears tacked on an always precious late-inning insurance run. Porrino led off with a single, then stole second before taking third on a passed ball. Two batters later, Babaev sent a two-out single into centerfield to give the Brook a 5-2 edge. Santiago began the 6th with a strikeout, then brushed aside an HBP with a 4-6 fielder’s choice and a pick-off of the runner at first. The Bears went down in order in the bottom half as the game moved to the final inning. Fordham’s first batter reached with a single to wake up the first base dugout. Santiago then sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a walk before loading the bases with an HBP. With the tying run on first base, the Rams sent a line drive to center, but the sure-handed Stephen Cisz was there to seal the victory.
Franco earned the win with 1 earned run and 4 strikeouts in 4.2 innings while Santiago nailed down the save with 2.1 scoreless innings and 3 strikeouts. Porrino powered the offense with 2 hits and 2 RBIs while Babaev and Stroman each added an RBI.
The Bears are back in action on Friday in a non-league match-up at Ward Melville.