SLA Baseball Notches 1st Win in Opener, 25-8!

Just as the umpires arrived in the lead up to the first pitch of the 2011 baseball season the sun disappeared, the wind picked up and the sky was blanketed by ominous clouds. None of these things seemed to impact the energy as SLA ignored the elements and kept their side of the field warm by posting six runs in the first. Aggressive on the base paths and focused at the plate, the Rockets were patient, fundamental and took advantage of Comm Tech's starting pitcher who struggled to find the strike zone early on. After Jeff Schwartz lined a run-scoring single, Brandon Williams really opened it up with a bases loaded single to right, which scored two to make it 4-0. He would eventually add three more RBIs on two hits in a fourteen-run third inning to cap off his day with five ribbies.
Comm Tech eventually erased the 6-0 deficit on timely plays of their own in the 1st and 2nd, but Brandon Williams struck out four, the last looking with a runner on third, to preserved the tie. When they came back to the dugout SLA's coach shouted "now get it back!", and boy did they ever. Sixteen "SLAyers" came to the plate in the 3rd, and fourteen crossed home in what seemed like a never-ending cycle of walks, stolen bases, and clutch hits. Comm Tech's pitcher was forced deep in the count on every batter, and when he needed to throw a strike SLA was ready to take it for a ride. This included  solid rip into the gap by Ian McClendon, who finished off the play with a picture-perfect head first slide into second. Ian, who was really seeing the ball all game and barely missed a home run off in the first, was one of three standout stars for the game for SLA by going 2-3 with a double, 4 RBI and 3 Runs scored in five plate appearances.

After the nightmare of a third inning finally came to an end for Comm Tech, Jeff Schwartz took the mound and Brandon Williams went behind the plate. Schwartz matched Williams's solid performance on the mound (2IP, 4K, 2BB, 2H, 6R, 0ER), with two frames of his own in which he struck out four, walked one, surrendered just one hit and gave up two runs with only one earned.  His solid performance on the mound was only beaten by his consistency at the plate. Schwartz went 4-4, notched 3RBIs, and crossed home four times, which earned him star of the game honors along with McClendon and Williams.

An all-around team effort, supported by really strong coaching on the corners by Blase Biello (3B) and Isaac Adlowitz (1B), put SLA in position to end the game in the third, but Comm Tech was able to scratch a few runs across to keep within the fifteen run rule. The ripping wind really started to pick up, but that was nothing compared to the frustrations felt by Comm Tech's bullpen, which surrendered another five runs in the fourth. Schwartz came back out to shut it down, and the game ended on an unassisted ground out to T.J. Nicolella at first. Final score, SLA 25-8. Solid, strong and focused. SLA executed the fundamentals right through to the freezing conclusion by dousing their coach with the water bucket. Now that's brisk baby! SLA's next game is on Tuesday against Simon Gratz.

Congrats to the SLA girls as well, who routed their opponent 41-0 (not a typo or a football score). Apparently Bria Wimberly's home run, would have been enough, but Melissa Buchanico's Grand Slam didn't hurt the cause.

                  1  2   3  4     R   H   E 
SLA             6  0  14  5    25  14 10
Comm Tech  3  3    1  1     8    4  2

SLA:                     IP K  BB  H  R  ER

Williams, Brandon  2   4    2   2   6   0
Schwartz, Jeff        2   4    1   1   2   1

Williams, Brandon 3-5, 5RBI, 2R, 1SB
Schwartz, Jeff       4-4, 3RBI, 4R, 4SB
McClendon, Ian     2-3, 2B(1), 4RBI, 3R, 2SB