NEW YORK – If there was one thing that George Washington coach Nick Carbone wanted his players to understand after Wednesday’s game vs. Beacon, it was that they aren’t going to steamroll every team they face. The Trojans had to start “thinking baseball.”
That’s what junior outfielder Erick Roman did when he watched Beacon pitcher Kai Glick throw him four straight balls to draw a walk-off walk in the Trojans’ 5-4 win over Beacon Wednesday at home.
“That’s the kind of play we needed,” Carbone said. “We didn’t need him to go up there and hit a grand slam. We needed to get something. Go up there and challenge the guy. Get hit by a pitch. Draw a walk. That’s what he did.”
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: In a battle of two undefeated teams in the Public Schools Athletic League, neither team really took control early and the teams were tied 1-1 headed into the third. Then, Beacon’s Dylan Long slapped a sharp grounder into centerfield for a double that scored two runs.
Batters started to make more contact off GW’s freshman pitcher Reynaldo Hernandez in the middle innings. Giovanni Dingcong drove a ball to deep center for a double with one out in the fourth. Garrison Poulis later drove him home with a two-out RBI double to push lead to 4-1 for Beacon (6-1).
At the same time, Beacon pitcher Juan Adorno was cruising. He recorded five of his six strikeouts in the first three innings and had the Trojans (7-0) reeling.
“In the beginning, it was ugly,” Roman said.
But George Washington didn’t fold. It erupted with a three-run fifth inning to force a 4-4 tie. Hernandez responded by striking out two batters in a 1-2-3 sixth.
George Washington could have slammed the door in the sixth when it loaded the bases with one out, but Alexis Torres struck out looking and Justin Ferrer shot a hard line drive to right that left everyone stranded.
In the bottom of the seventh, Glick, who entered the game in the fifth, struggled with his command and GW capitalized. Glick would have been Beacon’s ace this season, but he’s still coming back from a shoulder tear and only cleared to throw 60 pitches before the game.
He walked Henry Rodriguez and Fernelys Sanchez to start the inning. With two outs, he intentionally walked GW slugger Nelson Rodriguez, bringing Roman to the plate. He threw three pitches that got away from catcher Avery Perez – two in the dirt and a high fastball over his head – before he walked Roman to end the game.
“We played great,” Beacon coach Thomas Covotsos said. “We played every inning like it was the last game of the World Series. I’m very proud of our guys.”
TURNING POINT: Carbone was begging for a base runner when his team took its hacks in the bottom of the fifth. First, Roman drew a walk. Osvaldo Pichardo followed with a single to put two runners on. Then, Alexis Torres crushed a 2-2 fastball off the fence in left center for a triple that scored Roman and Pichardo. Torres initially strooped at third but Beacon’s shortstop bobbled the relay throw and Torres scurried home to tie the game.
“His curveball wasn’t hitting for strikes,” Torres said of Adorno. “I knew I just had to be patient and I was just waiting on the fastball.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Torres struck out twice in the game but each time he reached base, he scored a run that tied the score. He drew a walk in the first and scored on an error when Adorno mishandled a bunt by Henry Rodriguez, tried to catch the runner at second base and instead hurled the ball into the outfield.
Torres’ towering triple in the fifth scored three runs and gave the Trojans all the momentum they needed to crawl out with a win.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: The Trojans didn’t get any offense from superstar catcher Nelson Rodriguez. The junior went 0-3 with two strikeouts--but he saved the game with his defense.
Ferrer muffed a grounder at first to put a runner on to start the seventh and Poulis attempt to bunt the runner to second, but instead popped the ball up. Rodriguez caught it then doubled up the runner at first.
“That play saved the game for us,” Carbone said.
Roman said it took all the pressure off.
“It was like, ‘Whoa,’” Roman said. “We just all turned to each other and knew we needed to just get a hit.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We came in and won the championship game (in the GW Holiday Tournament) 21-0,” Torres said. “Today we proved that even when we don’t play our best, we can play with any team in the city.”
UP NEXT: George Washington is schedule to play West 50th Street Campus Monday at 4 p.m. Beacon is scheduled to play Norman Thomas that day.