By MIKE SMITH
This year may not have been Harrison’s best baseball season, but a big out-bracket win against Pelham ensured Huskies players–and fans–have plenty to look forward to next year.
With a 5-16 record, Harrison entered its May 21 out-bracket game against Pelham as decided underdogs. But, nine innings later, Harrison emerged victorious with a hard-fought, 3-2 win under its belt.
Matt Baker pitched seven strong innings and drove in the game-winner in the ninth inning to give Harrison the win. Huskies coach Marco DiRuocco said that, more than anything, the Pelham game highlighted the fight and determination Harrison brought to the field all year.
“I’m so proud of our guys, they were so upbeat, so positive throughout the entire season,” he said. “But they continued to battle and fight, and that’s what you saw them do against Pelham.”
Harrison had a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning when Pelham was able to scratch out two runs against Baker. The score would remain tied for the next four innings before Baker’s single broke it.
“Two games in a row, aginst Pelham and Ossining, we allowed the other team to come back and then we held on and won,” DiRuocco said. “These guys just wanted it.”
The win over Pelham earned the Huskies the right to take on a good Tappan Zee team on May 22. The Dutchmen topped the Huskies 4-0, ending their season, but DiRuocco was still impressed by the way his team approached the game.
“That’s a good team, we just fell a little short,” he said. “We just couldn’t string together the hits when we needed to. But, even with that, I’d say we ended the season on a positive note.”
With a very young team this season, Harrison will graduate a few key players–including Baker–but will return several contributors in 2015.
Tyler McConway and Andrew Gurgitano were two youngsters who helped bolster the Harrison rotation this year and should be even better when they return next season, DiRuocco said.
“Tyler really impressed us this year with his ability to get people out,” DiRuocco said. “And Gurgitano, as a lefty, is someone we’re really looking forward to seeing again next year.”
With a taste of playoff success, DiRuocco said the Huskies could be primed for big things down the road.
“These guys are excited, and we, as a coaching staff, are excited,” he said. “It’s exciting to see how everyone’s going to develop with another year, and all these guys are baseball guys, so I know they’ll be working on their skills.”