When we last covered East baseball, the Eagles were undefeated after having won the East Tournament. In baseball — as in life — all good things come to an end.
On April 24th, East faced Eastridge in a non-conference home game. When I reached the field, I was surprised and dismayed to see the scoreboard read AWAY 9 and HOME 0. Operating the scoreboard in the press box, East Social Studies teacher Rob Snyder explained the situation.Eastridge’s pitcher was sharp, pitching a no-hitter. At the same time, East — not used to trailing in a game — seemed to be pressing, chasing bad pitches and making multiple errors. The final score was 20-0 as Eastridge complete the no-hitter. Usually, the scoreboard doesn’t record runs after 10 – 0, but today East’s Coach Kyle Crandall told Rob to register each run in this game to best be forgotten.
But baseball is all about bouncing back. Two days later, East was back on track with a 10 – 0 win over Franklin.
As we watched from the press box, scoreboard operator Michael Perkins, a Youth Advocate at Hillside Family of Agencies, said the East players were really upset about their performance against Eastridge. Motivated to learn from their mistakes, East came out both a little subdued and extra focused. They squeezed each out tighter in their gloves.
John Segarra had to miss the game after an injury against Eastridge. John said the players basically knew they had to win this game otherwise the season could quickly spiral downward. And the Eagles took care of business.
And two days ago, at Genesee Valley Park, East beat SOTA 6 -1. The Eastridge let-down now a memory not to be repeated, the players spirit and swag was on full display. The team looked especially cohesive.
Athletic trainer David DiPasquale thought it was due to the bonding experience of the road trip to NYC. Last year, the team went to Cincinnati; this year they travelled to Flushing, NY and to Yankee Stadium to catch an epic extra inning contest. As David said, the trips are all about bringing the team together as a community and family. Ultimately, wins and losses are not as important as the relationships forged.
At GVP, East was led by the ever boisterous Eric Maldondo, who the bleacher fans loudly call “Macho.” Macho Maldonado started the game at catcher, but came on in relief to record a save as he stymied a SOTA rally in the 6th.
Eric also added some drama when he returned to the dugout hyperventilating after scoring a run. Eric has asthma and didn’t have his ventilator. But trainer DiPasquale helped get Macho’s breath back.
I am an umpire so I always watch the men in blue in action. At the game, the home plate umpire took two vicious shots to his arm and chest.
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