Who cares about the snow bank alongside the right field bleachers? It’s time to play ball!
Last Wednesday and Thursday, the annual East High Tournament kicked off the RCAC baseball season in what should be an exciting spring with at least four teams in title contention. While basketball, football and track draw the most attention, city baseball is gaining in popularity. Buoyed by a growing Hispanic population—where the sport has always been a favorite—baseball is attracting a new generation of players.
As the games begin, I asked East’s Coach Kyle Crandall—whose team won last year’s City Tournament and beat Greece Olympia in the opening round of the Sectionals—to assess the upcoming season.
East Orientals, Home Field: On Campus
East in action vs. Sodus
Mark down Monday April 6th on your baseball calendar. Several years ago, McQuaid left the RCAC to become an independent baseball program. However, McQuaid still plays one game a season against its arch rival. This marque matchup is set for tomorrow at 4pm at East. As Crandall says, “McQuaid is by far the best team we will play in the regular season and the type of team that we will need to be prepared to play in Sectionals in May as AA is loaded with good baseball teams this year. We have a very young team so this will be a very tough matchup for us so early in the season.”
On his team’s prospects: East is led at the plate by 3 year starter at 1B and captain, Keyli Serrata. On the mound, East returns its top pitcher, senior Wilkins Mata. The team starts 6 underclassmen so he expects the team to improve and contend for the City Championship as the season moves on. East has won the City Tournament 6 times over the last 10 years.
Edison has a very good returning player in SS/P Bryan Rivera. Rivera was the true leader for the Inventors last season. The real question facing Coach Morales is whether or not he can get enough production at the plate and on the mound surrounding Rivera to keep the Inventors competitive.
Franklin Quakers, Home Field: On Campus
Franklin had one of the youngest teams in the City last year. The question facing Coach Lee is whether or not his young group has improved enough to be able to compete with the top teams this year.
Monroe Redjackets, Home Field: Cobbs Hill
Monroe is one of the preseason favorites to contend for the City Championship. They fell one run short last year against East and return some key players from last year’s team that should have them in the title hunt. Coach Golamb has worked hard in his first few seasons at Monroe making this team a contender.
Northeast/Northwest Panthers, Home Field: On Campus
NE College Prep enters the RCAC league with its first ever Varsity baseball team this year. The program has had a JV team for several years and now Coach Sova gets to bring the players he has been working to develop along to the Varsity level this year. It is rare to see a first-year Varsity team have a lot of success but many coaches believe that NE College Prep will be competitive in their first Varsity season.
School of the Arts Silver Hawks, Home field: Cobbs Hill
This year SOTA will be led by its top player, Kenny Cruz. As Crandall says, Cruz is the best player in the City. He is a legitimate as presence at the plate as any player in Section V. If SOTA can replace a few key players who graduated last year and surround Kenny they will be in contention in the City again.
Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College.
I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism.
Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones. So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are are invited to join.
I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.”
Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.