It may be one of Rosedale’s best seasons in varsity boys baseball but their May 20 game against Central Tech didn’t show it.
Ravens coach Joe Levin, enthusiastic about a 2–2–1 record even after an unlucky 13–0 blowout at the hands of the Blues, lauded his charges for a standout campaign.
Levin admitted Central Tech would provide a challenge, as the school played Riverdale in the Tier 2 finals in 2010.
“This was going to be a tough game because we were missing one of our best guys and another two of our guys got hurt inexplicably about an hour before the game,” he said. “I’m not making any excuses.”
Indeed he wasn’t as the Ravens faced 18-year-old Marshall Irving on the mound.
In four innings pitched, Irving amassed a startling 10 strikeouts and only allowed one hit, from Ravens pitcher Aja Jones.
As for Jones, in the bottom of the first inning he suffered at the whims of an umpire’s pernickety strike zone walking seven batters.
His only earned runs in the inning were a sacrifice fly by Kevin Battista bringing in Central Tech’s Tristan Joseph and after cycling through the batting order, Joseph would return to the plate smacking a three-run triple to centrefield.
Rosedale’s third baseman Danny Mucci, who would later replace Jones on the mound in the fifth, acknowledged the disparity between hurlers.
“We knew that going into this, so we just had to go into it with a good attitude and just play our game,” he said of Central Tech’s depth. “It’s good practice for us.
“We’re going to have a much easier time than with guys throwing curves and knuckleballs at us.”
Central Tech’s assistant coach Matthew Nailer admitted most of his crew’s runs were unearned but players like Nick Barbati and Matthew Procopio cashed in key runs.
“We got some big hits with the bases loaded to bring a few runs in and we had good pitching from our guy,” Nailer said.
By the time Mucci took the mound for the Ravens his team was trailing 11-0 and admittedly he was feeling a bit nervous as it was his first time since age 12 he toed the rubber.
“I was concerned about hitting people,” he said with a laugh.
His coach Joe Levin set aside Mucci’s trepidation.
“The best thing that happened today was that Danny, who had never pitched before, struck out two of the best batters in the league,” Levin said.
Those batters being Barbati and Mike Medeiros.
Mucci couldn’t have been happier.
“It picked me up, made me realize I could still throw a pitch, I just had to get my confidence back.”
Even with the lopsided loss, Rosedale is still in the mix for the Tier 2 playoffs.
One thing to work on, Levin said, is the fielders keeping the ball in front of them. However, batting is not a concern.
“I think we’re going to be a better hitting team after facing this guy who is 18 and throwing 75 against us which again is not typical of this league,” he said. Still, he is confident the Ravens will fly high in the postseason.
“I like our chances, as long as we don’t play these guys,” he said.