Grand Street catcher Marcus Chavez has looked forward to playing rival Telecommunications since the season started, but needed a wake up call to spark his play.
The day before the game, coach Steve Martinez told the freshman that he wasn’t happy with his energy, and it did the trick.
“Today was a totally different ball player,” Martinez said.
Chavez responded with his best game of the season in the Wolves’ biggest game of the year. He went three-for-four with three RBIs and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the sixth to propel Grand Street to a 6–4 victory over the visiting Yellow Jackets in Public School Athletic League baseball on Tuesday. The talk with Martinez hit home for Chavez before a battle between to two best public school teams in Brooklyn.
“It helped me want to play harder,” he said. “It helped me want to help my teammates, to push. We know this is the biggest game of the season.”
Chavez, who also doubled in the fifth, smashed a Josh Mercado pitch down the left field line for a two-run, two-out double to give Grand Street a 5–4 lead in the next inning. The Wolves (8–0) added a run on a throwing error during a rundown between second and third. Chavez had already done all the damage needed.
“They were trying to jam me inside,” he said. “I was just trying to get my hands out.”
Ace Alex Cuas, who threw two and a third innings of scoreless relief made sure the lead stood up with a perfect seventh inning. The senior kept Grand Street in the game when he came on in relief of starter Emmanuel Castellano in the fifth and struck out Juan Rodriguez with the bases loaded to end the frame.
“I’ve been in situations like this,” Cuas said. “They are pressure situations. I’ve been in them before and this is another example.”
He said he tried to get Rodriguez out with fastballs after watching him blast a solo home run the inning prior. Rodriguez’s 320-foot blast over the fence in left field put Telecom up 4–3. He isn’t a regular in the Yellow Jackets line up, but coach Ed D’Alessio had no choice with his team down to just 12 healthy bodies because of injuries.
Telecom (8–1) scored three runs in the first inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Kevin Urena. Tyrell Hardy added two hits. Grand Street got the three runs back in the bottom of the frame, thanks to a wild pitch, an error, and a Chavez single.
Yellow Jackets starter Evan Layne had to be lifted after just two thirds of an inning. Mercado came in and allowed just two runs on four hits in six and a third innings.
“Mercado did a great job,” D’Alessio said. “He always does. He’s like my ace in the hole.”
Despite Mercado’s best efforts, Grand Street came away with the pivotal victory for playoff seeding.
“This was basically a statement game,” Chavez said. “It shows the other teams in the PSAL that we are here to win.”
©2014 Community News Group
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