Anthony Prato came up to the plate with a runner on second and no one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, and he didn’t let his chance to play hero get away.
The Poly Prep shortstop drove a pitch for a walk-off double to secure the Blue Devils a 5–4 comeback victory over visiting Fieldston in Ivy League baseball last Friday.
“I was just looking for a pitch I can drive to get Isiah [Russell] in,” Prato said. “He put himself in a good position to score and I was just looking to get a hit. He threw me an inside fastball and I turned on.”
Poly Prep coach Matt Roventini trusted his leadoff hitter to do the job. He smartly chose not to take away his bat by having Prato sacrifice bunt.
“Most guys would bunt in that spot, but Anthony is such a good hitter I wasn’t going to waste his bat,” he said. “I knew he would at least get him over or he was going to drive in the run. He knew what his job was.”
The Blue Devils battled back from a 4–2 deficit in the bottom of the sixth when Morgan Gray, who was also the winning pitcher, grounded into a double play to score Christian Pelligrino.
Roventini saw fight in his team — a squad that is not used to playing from behind late in ball games.
“We are used to playing from ahead and we weren’t playing from ahead today,” he said. “We had to play from behind and we found a way. We trust everyone in the lineup. It’s a team effort. We used almost all of our guys and that’s what it takes to win.”
The Blue Devils hurt themselves in field in the first two innings, allowing four runs on sloppy defensive plays. Roventini, whose team recorded four errors in the second inning, didn’t think his team was ready to play from the looks of things early.
“The first two innings we weren’t that focused,” Roventini said. “I give them credit, they put the ball in play and we didn’t come focused. And we gave them opportunities and they took advantage of it. I am glad we settled down after that second inning.”
Poly Prep closed out the Ivy League season 12–1, and will compete in the private school state playoffs, which start on May 17. The Blue Devils are expected to be the top seed. After a strong regular season and with the team playing well, Roventini’s team has one goal, and it will take three wins to get to it — a record fourth-straight crown.
“We want win it all,” Roventini said.
©2014 Community News Group
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